A Buffet for Pollinators

This is a very special time of year. In addition to many weddings and graduations, June brings celebrations of perennial plants and the many pollinators that play a vital role in our everyday lives.

The Perennial Plant Association has declared that June is Perennial Gardening Month™.  To mark this occasion, we at Rohsler’s are stepping up our promotion of native plants, particularly those that support and sustain pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, bees, beetles, bats, and hoverflies. This effort coincides with National Pollinator Week (June 19-25), an event launched by the United States Department of Agriculture, to underscore the connection between pollinators and the foods humans eat.

National Pollinator Week was established a decade ago by a unanimous vote of the United States Senate. That’s right: unanimous! The issue of declining pollinator populations is one that affects everyone. Significant declines in the populations of various pollinators have been widely documented in recent years. The Pollinator Partnership (www.pollinator.org) attributes this phenomenon to habitat loss, chemical misuse, diseases, parasites, and the introduction of invasive plants and animals.

In the United States alone, $40 billion worth of products are produced by pollinators each year. Those products include approximately 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, spices, medicines, and fibers. (Source: The Pollinator Partnership.)

Without pollinators, there would be no melons, pumpkins, almonds, apples, blueberries, strawberries, soybeans, alfalfa, peaches, or potatoes.

By the way: If you love your morning coffee, thank a pollinator. Without pollinators, coffee production would not be possible.

The Pollinator Partnership urges everyone to join in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge™, a national campaign to encourage private and public plantings that sustain pollinators. If you lack space, keep in mind that a well-planted window box can be a boon to pollinators. Whether your planting is large or small, use groups of plants to make your garden easier for pollinators to find, and time your plantings to bloom in succession to extend the buffet.

We recommend planting Asclepias (Milkweed), Yarrow, Black-eyed Susan, Lambs’ Ears, Penstemon, Sunflower, Purple Coneflower, Sage/Salvia, Mountain Mint, Golden Zizia, Hyssop (Agastache), Switchgrass, Common Spicebush, Viburnum, Tulip Trees, American Hackberry Trees, Wild Black Cherry Trees, Joe-Pye Weed, Boneset, Wild Ageratum, Snakeroot, New York Ironweed, and other native species. Pollinators also need fresh water and places to roost and raise their young.

Attract hummingbirds by planting Trumpet Creeper, Monarda, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Cardinal Flower, Spotted Jewelweed, Red Columbine, Canada Lily, Indian Pink, Red Buckeye, and Catawba Rhododendron.

Bergen County Audubon Society’s Don Torino will return to Rohsler’s at 7 p.m. on June 27 to discuss additional tips for drawing hummingbirds into your garden. Stop by or call the garden center for additional information or visit our website; Rohslers.com.

On June 24 and 25, Rohsler’s fifth generation horticulturist, grower  and garden designer Eric Rohsler will be a featured speaker at the Pollinators Weekend showcase at Wave Hill in the Bronx (NY). Eric will be at the Perkins Visitor Center at Wave Hill from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days to discuss plants that attract pollinators. He will be available to talk to guests about successful plant combinations, gardening tips, and much more. There will also be a sale of Milkweed and other unusual perennials for sun and shade. Visit www.wavehill.org for details and directions.

Rohsler’s does its part by embracing environmentally friendly plant care and production techniques.

We use beneficial insects in our greenhouses, so insecticide is rarely needed.

We rely on compost teas and biological fungicides, and fewer synthetic products.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is practiced so we always deal with plant care responsibly and safely.

We have accepted the Jersey Plant Pledge by agreeing to curtail the sales of several invasive plants.

Stop by today to learn how you can help feed the pollinators that feed us! We’ll see you soon!