While many people might have spent much of the summer swatting away bees, some gardeners are doing all they can to keep them around.
Landscape expert Jason Rathe, from Field Outdoor Spaces landscaping company in Minneapolis, is urging people at the Minnesota State Fair to consider growing a pollinator garden.
"What a pollinator garden is is a way to bring as many bees and pollinators into your garden as possible," says Rathe.
A pollinator is an animal that transfers pollen in or between flowers. Bees are among the most effective at pollinating crops. However, the bee population in Minnesota and across the country is declining. That's why Rathe says it's important to invest in plants that will attract the beneficial bug and other helpful insects.
Rathe says the key to building a pollinator garden is to make sure something's blooming all year long. Trees and shrubs will bloom in the spring and certain flowering plants will in the summer and fall. He says it's also important to incorporate natives.
"Native plants and native insects often have kind of a one to one relationship," says Rathe. "So the more native plants you can have interspersed in there, the more variety of pollinators you’re going to have."
If you're scared of getting stung, Rathe says not to worry. He says pollinator gardens typically don't draw the type of bugs that would spoil a picnic.
"A lot of the ones that we’re trying to attract in a pollinator garden are tiny little wasps and flies and different things," he says. "We’re not trying to attract ground wasps. Just things that are flitting, you know, in and out of flowers."
August 24, 2012