We all know the value of pollinators, the bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles, and hummingbirds. Some three-quarters of all plants depend on these pollinators to reproduce. About one out of every three bites we take is made available by the action of an animal or insect pollinator. Too often though, the plants we put in our garden for their color or beauty did not evolve with our local pollinators, and cannot, therefore, be hosts for them. What we plant in our gardens determines what else can live there. Without host plants, our gardens become sterile … without insects and inevitably then, without birds, one of the many reasons 40% of bird species are in decline. Did you know, for example, that it takes between 6,000 and 9,000 caterpillars to supply the protein just to raise one clutch of growing chickadees? Only native plants can host those caterpillars. Our gardens become truly alive when balanced with native plants.
What we can do:
- Avoid Asian ornamentals that provide little food value for other wildlife.
- Don’t worry about unsightly munchings on our plants; the birds can control that.
- As we make changes in our gardens, consider replacing exotic trees, shrubs, and perennials with locally native plants.