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Pollinator Gardens: Purposeful Landscape Beauties

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Pollinator gardens are areas with plants that provide pollen or nectar for pollinating insects, known as pollinators. These plants provide nutrients that keep the insects alive and sustain them throughout the year. It also offers a safe, chemical-free habitat and a home for winter.

A pollinator is anything from insects, animals, or wind, that helps carry pollen from the male part of the flower (stamen) to the female part of the same or another flower (stigma). This transfer of pollen in and between flowers of the same species enables fertilization and successful seed and fruit production for plants. Pollination ensures that a plant will produce full-bodied fruit and a full set of viable seeds.

Pollinators are vital for creating and maintaining the habitats and ecosystems that many animals rely on for food and shelter. They are important for the production of healthy crops for food, fibers, edible oils, medicines, and other products. In fact, worldwide, over half the diet of fats and oils comes from crops pollinated by these means. Pollinators facilitate the reproduction of 90% of the world’s flowering plants.

A world without pollinators would mean that crops dependent upon them for production would dissipate. Almonds, apples, blueberries, carrots, cherries, cocoa, coffees, grapes, melons, peaches, squashes, are just some examples of consumable crops that require a pollinator’s help. We would no longer have cotton crops for the clothes we wear either. Economically, pollinators are important because the commodities produced with their help generate significant income for producers and others who benefit from a productive agricultural community.

The Ward County Master Gardeners have a created a Pollinator Garden to help do their part in keeping pollinators plentiful. The Pollinator Garden is located off East Burdick Expressway, between 15th Street SE and 18th Street SE. Master Gardener Nancy Scofield designed the current garden layout and plant placement. Many thanks to the Master Gardeners, especially Nancy, for their many hours of volunteer time spent in making the Pollinator Garden bee-utiful.

Originally, the pollinator garden began at Rainbow Gardens in 2016, but then moved to its current location. In the very near future, the garden will, one again, need to be moved because of the flood wall. The Master Gardeners are hoping that this next move will be to the garden’s forever home.

They would love to have you come out to enjoy the garden. A few of the plants you will see there are columbine (aquilegia Canadensis), cat mint (Nepeta x faassenii), bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), and cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum). The Master Gardeners have built and maintained this garden to be enjoyed by all, so all they ask is to please not remove plants and to pick up after your dogs.

Pollinator gardens do not have to be large expansive gardens, you can create one in your backyard. In fact, in 2016, the NDSU Master Gardener Program was awarded grant money to recognize homeowners for their commitment to maintaining healthy and helpful environments for pollinator insects. They received 50 applications and awarded 50 home pollinator signs, designating 143,259 square feet of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota pollinator insect friendly. Since then, an additional 70 signs have been sent to Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, totaling 4,406,800 square feet – that is over 100 acres!

I hope this inspires you to consider adding this purposeful beauty to your landscape.

To find information and guidelines for creating your own Certified Pollinator Garden visit the NDSU Master Gardener site at www.ag.ndsu.edu /mastergardener/pollinator. Additional information about pollinator gardens can be found in NDSU Extension publication H1811: Bee-utiful Landscapes: Building a Pollinator Garden at www.ag.ndsu.edu/cpr/horticulture/new-pollinator-bee-gardening-extension-fact-sheet-available-07-21-16. The US Forest Service at www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/gardening.shtml also has great information for creating a pollinator-friendly landscape.

I encourage you to give it a try; not only will you be helping the pollinators, but planting your own garden is a great stress reliever.

Happy Gardening!

Online:

NDSU Master Gardener: www.ag.ndsu.edu/mastergardener/pollinator

NDSU Extension publication H1811: www.ag.ndsu.edu/cpr/horticulture/new-pollinator-bee-gardening-extension-fact-sheet-available-07-21-16

US Forest Service: www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/gardening.shtml

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