Pollinators are the unsung heroes to humankind’s success in food production.  Most agricultural plants require pollinating before they can progress into making an edible fruit or vegetable. Pollinators such as honeybees are experiencing a dramatic decline in their population. One of the biggest reasons is the loss of habitat. The local gardener can help to create more habitats and therefore increase the population of pollinators.

One immediate solution to sustaining a bee population is eliminating the use of non-target insecticides in your garden. One of the best solutions in increasing the population is to plant a wide variety of flowering plants in your garden. Pollinators are very much like us in that they require steady nutrition. They rely on a full season of flowering plants starting with willows flowers in the early spring to goldenrods and asters in the fall. It is not enough to plant one type of flowering plant since pollinators will starve when the one crop finishes blooming.  Not all pollinators are the same so it is important to mix and match some of the flowering plants to accommodate the length of their tongues or flying behaviors.

At Bylands, we produce over 800 different varieties of perennials. A combination of perennials, shrubs and trees is ideal to help the pollinators survive the whole season. In the early spring plants such as almond, crabapple, crocus, foxglove, mockorange, primrose and willow are producing flowers. In the mid-season plants such as catnip, chives, elderberry, hydrangea, lavender, lilacs, ninebark, potentilla, raspberry, spirea, weigela and yarrow would be good choices. The plants that flower late in the growing season would be aster, coneflower, cosmos, goldenrod and sedum.

Other ways to sustain bees throughout the season would be to create bee baths with landing pads such as rocks, and building a bee house for the cavity-nesting bees.

Pollinators are an integral part of keeping us fed and so it is important for us to make sure that their population is healthy and stable.


Happy Gardening!


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Guest post by Rick - Bylands Product Development

I was born and brought up in Manitoba, and this has influenced my outlook and forged my love of the prairies. I now live in the Okanagan Valley and continue to focus on improving plant material suited for the Canadian prairies. The advantage of living and working in a Zone 5 is that I can easily access a wider variety of plant material to breed with a select group of cold hardy material that I brought with me from Manitoba.  I look forward to introducing new plants from Bylands in future years. With my wife Karen, we enjoy the opportunity on weekends to hike the first class hiking trails in the Kelowna area.