It’s Spring time and that means it’s time to get outside and plant. This is a great opportunity to incorporate pollinator friendly plants and trees in your gardens and landscapes. The biggest consideration in choosing your varieties is your plant hardiness zone. Planting zone information can easily be found on the internet. I am in zone 8 and I like to plant hardy plants. My family has also included native wildflowers and a xeriscape area in our yard. Not only does this require less watering, it also reintroduces native plants to our land that were previously removed.
St. Augustine and Bermudagrass have taken over most lawns and pastures. These nonnative grasses provide little to no substance to our pollinators or native wildlife species. Benefits of planting native grasses such as Buffalograss, Blue Grama, or Little Bluestem include lower maintenance, erosion control, sustainability, as well as providing natural habitats.
I love wildflowers and have added seeds to my lawn in the fall and in the spring. Pollinator mixes are great and are available in shade friendly or full sun varieties. Some of my favorite plants included in these mixes are Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, Basil, Cornflower and Butterfly Weed. It truly is amazing to see hummingbirds, bees and butterflies visiting flowers that you have planted and cared for.
Trees and bushes are another great way to provide nutrition and shelter for wildlife. My property has established American Holly bushes that flower in the spring. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of these bushes at first, I soon noticed that the flowers were attracting lots of bees. That alone was enough for me to trim them up and let them stay. One of my favorite shrubs is the Texas Sage (desperado). It is hardy, has beautiful flowers, is great for pollinators and can be added to your xeriscape. Another great addition is Salvia Greggii. This is also a shrub that is heat tolerant, takes full sun and little water. The blooms add awesome color to any spot in your yard and I always see butterflies and bumblebees nearby.
As the chinese proverb goes "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now". I believe this is true for both plants and trees. Planting and supporting our pollinators is a strong step in helping our earth. Even if planting in small spaces, we can all make a positive difference.