Planting for Pollinators – “Think meadow!”

Tri-colored Bumblebee on Creeping Charlie

“Oh, it’s so overgrown!” said a woman coming back to her car after running on the MRG. She was commenting on one of the pollinator gardens. I wish I had said “Think meadow.”

Were it not for the dandelions, Creeping Charlie, clover, self-seeded violets, wild strawberry flowers, and a few wild mustard plants, there would be very little nectar and pollen for bees in the MRG pollinator gardens this time of year. The pollinator gardens are more like wild meadows than formal gardens. Many pollinators are attracted to goldenrod, milkweed, dandelions, wild mustard; these flowers would likely be weeded out of a formal garden. In order to provide a variety of flowers from Spring through late Fall, it helps to scrap the idea of an orderly garden and seems better to work with the natural world. Yes, as the season progresses, there will be some showy flowers too, but it is satisfying to see that the creeping charlie was there for this tri-colored bumblebee. Think meadow!

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