Save the pollinators, save the world | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

March is the month to scan your own landscape for early flowers – not a lot of blooms? Then get thee to a nursery and add new plants in bloom now to provide an early food source for the desperate birds, bees and butterflies.

The beginning of March is when gardeners can really make a difference and I mean save the world.

It is the birds and the bees that pollinate our crops and forests that are struggling to survive. This can be blamed on a loss of habitat, disease and drought and here is where gardeners can save the planet a lack of blooming plants.

March is the month to scan your own landscape for early flowers not a lot of blooms? Then get thee to a nursery and add new plants in bloom now to provide an early food source for the desperate birds, bees and butterflies.

Triplets of Early Delight plant hellebores, snowdrops and crocus

These three are the first to flower sometimes as early as January and on mild days you can watch the insects as they awake from winter slumber and take their turn dipping into the center of these winter bloomers.

As a thank you for planting hellebores, the insects will trade pollen from one variety of hellebore to another so any seedlings you find near the mother plant can be similar or strikingly different from the parent hellebore that dropped the seed.

You can find potted crocus and snowdrop at local nurseries and they can be added to your landscape now even if the flowers have faded sometimes this means they will be sold at a bargain price. Crocus and snowdrops are bulbs that will return year after year.

Pulmonaria pleases hummingbirds and others

Pulmonaria is a shade- and drought-tolerant perennial that returns year after year and even self seeds about the garden in a polite and restrained way. The foliage is attractively spotted but also rather furry making this plant both slug and deer resistant.

Pulmonaia will persuade humming birds to visit your garden months before you even think about setting out a feeder.

Cue the natives our pollinators are restless

Oregon Grape or Mahonia is one of the best early flowering native plants for saving birds, bees and butterflies.

Oregon Grape has spiny, lobed leaves that are evergreen and deer resistant and spikes of brilliant yellow blooms. This is one of the few plants that will thrive under the dry shade of fir and cedar trees.

The good news is that local nurseries offer potted mahonia plants in different sizes so don’t bother digging up plants from the woods like most natives, Oregon Grape does not transplant easily from the wild state.

Mix in some native salal and sword fern and you’ll have a landscape that is not only easy to care for but easy for tree frogs, salamanders and other native critters to call home.

Anyone can plant pots of primroses and these please the pollinators

Don’t be a plant snob and walk right past those candy- colored primroses now blooming in 4-inch plastic pots at grocery stores and home centers.

The slugs may make lacework out of the leaves if you plant these in the ground but by adding a few blooming primrose to your empty pots and window boxes you’ll be attracting pollinators from the far reaches of the neighborhood it is both the bright color and the light scent that creates the buzz around any primrose.

Life is too short to put up with empty or winter weary container gardens. Make this the week you pot up some blooming plants and save a pollinator.

Oh, and save the world as well.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Three drive-in films set for Kent’s ShoWare Center Aug. 12-16

‘The Lion King,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins’

RTC student Rose Milianta, left, delivering a birthday cake to Birthday Dreams Volunteer Coordinator Tiffaney Jones to give to a child in need. Courtesy photo/Renton Technical College
Local college students bake for Birthday Dreams

The nonprofit delivers birthday cakes and more to children who are homeless, and the new partnership with RTC helps students, too.

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading

Renton church offers online funeral services

As a result of COVID-19 closures, the church decided to find a way for people to gather and mourn loved ones

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Founder and co-owner of Red Tea Room Donna Wong puts the finishing touch on their most popular dessert— Lemon Meringue Glacée. Photo by Haley Ausbun.
Renton catering company pivots during pandemic

The Red Tea Room Catering’s move to takeout helped keep the company going— and get closer to neighbors

Courtesy of Lindbergh High School.
Congrats to the Class of 2020— virtual ceremony June 15

Students were also celebrated using walk-up ceremonies at Renton High School, Lindbergh High School, Hazen High School and Talley Sr. High School

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Relay for Life of South King County moves online

American Cancer Society donations to be taken during May 30 virtual gathering

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                A woman checks out jars of honey and jam at the Renton Farmers Market in 2018. This year social distancing guidelines are changing the look of the market.
Renton Farmers Market is back June 9

The 19th season of the market will look a little different due to social distancing guidelines

Auburn Symphony Orchestra announces 2020-21 season

Begins with Summer Series scheduled to start June 21

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.