It’s Spring! Take a Pollinator Out to Lunch!

PictureA favorite in the Blue Ridge Mountains, towering Turk’s Cap Lilies are pollinated primarily by spicebush swallowtail butterflies, pipevine swallowtail butterflies, eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies and great spangled fritillaries! Photo: Red Root Natives

What fun to see mason bees and honey bees on the crabapple tree yesterday! When the trees start budding and tiny plants push their first leaves out of the ground, gardeners are itching to grab their shovels.  Each Bee City USA and Bee Campus USA affiliate is committed to developing a local recommended species list of native plants, and they are encouraged to identify local nurseries who propagate those plants free of harmful pesticides.

​Asheville, North Carolina’s recommended species list is presented as an example as the first item on the Bee City USA Resources page. The last column tells you which nurseries carry each plant, and the nurseries are provided on the last page of the list.

​Jean Harrison of Red Root Natives, a small nursery near Asheville, recently contacted us to let us know what they offer this year.  This is a good time to check in with local native nurseries like Red Root Natives and to promote them through social media, garden clubs, neighborhood listservs….

Because plants and pollinators co-evolved over millions of years, our native bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds and flower flies are counting on these native plants for their very survival and vice versa. (Our honey bee friends aren’t very picky and love the native flowers as much as herbs from Europe!) Indeed, 90% of wild plant species depend on pollinators for their reproduction.

The monarchs are making their way north from Mexico and California right now, so don’t forget to include local milkweed species in your gardens for hungry monarch butterfly caterpillars as well as nectar for all kinds of pollinators

​Happy gardening and pollinator watching!


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