Shade Pollinator Garden in Downtown St. Joseph, MI
Created in 2018 as a collaborative effort between the Indian Hills Garden Club, PhycoTech, Inc and with support of the City of St. Joseph, these gardens were planted in response to the global crisis of pollinator decline. We were inspired to do our part in reversing this unacceptable trend and purposely selected plant species native to Michigan. Native plants evolved over time to adapt to local climate and topography, and are quite resistant to drought and disease. But most importantly, they provide much more nectar than non-native plants. Pollinators searching for nectar inadvertently distribute pollen from plant to plant, providing vital fertilization so plants can proliferate and bear fruit. Many people aren’t aware that bees pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that represent 90% of global food supply. Without pollinators such as bees, we simply could not even begin to meet global food demand.
View our galleries below for additional images and details -- come watch us grow!
Winter of 2017 /2018,
Pulling out the old plants and preparing for the new
Plants starting to take root
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Who are the Pollinators?
Learn more About Pollinator, information provided by Indian Hills Garden Club
Mainly, pollinating is done by insects. It can also be accomplished in a smaller measure by birds, bats, and even animals such as lemurs! Alarmingly, as of 2016, over 40% of pollinators were faced with extinction and that number is continuing to rise. Monarch butterflies are expected to be added to this list in 2019. Declining pollinator populations across the globe desperately need our help if this trend is to be reversed.
Our pollinating insects consists of four main groups:
Bees and Wasps are responsible for the majority of pollination. Bees are best equipped to carry lots of pollen since they have stiff hairs or a “pollen basket” to collect the pollen. Wasps pollinate too but are not designed like bees with as many body parts to carry the pollen.
Flies frequently visit flowers and are also equipped to participate in the pollinating process. Although they are not designed to carry as much pollen as a bee, they still play an important role. A natural ecosystem is greatly benefited by their pollinating. They do at times pollinate some foods that we consume.
Butterflies and Moths are the ones we see the most, bringing us delight as they brilliantly flutter through our gardens. They contribute to plant pollination accidentally as they use their long tongues to sip on nectar. As their body comes in contact with pollen it then is distributed to other plants.
Beetles pollinate particular groups of cup-petaled flowers such as lupine, magnolia and water lilies. Many of these types of plants give off odors that attract the beetles required to pollinate them.
How to Protect Pollinators
We do not use any pesticides in these gardens. Pesticides are substances used to destroy insects or other organisms harmful to plants or animals. They include fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides. Experts believe pollinators are permanently damaged and often killed by these various forms of poison.
We can help by creating safe habitats and growing plants pollinators love in our own gardens. Even a small, backyard garden can make a big difference.
You can reduce the risk to pollinators by following these simple guidelines:
- Use natural methods to control pests, such as spraying plants with a bit of
dilute dish soap or Neem oil mixed with water, or by hand-picking pests and
disposing of them.
- Choose not to use pesticides, or if you must, manage them very carefully.
- Be especially aware of the most toxic ones such as the family of neonicotinoids.
- Never apply pesticides to plants that are flowering. The pollen and nectar would
pass the pesticide residue directly on to the pollinators.
- Always use the least toxic pesticide if no other solution is available.
Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for additional advice.
Together we can make a difference!