Today I have another guest blog post article by my dear friend, Debbie Burns. Debbie lives in north Texas on her Beulah Land farm, with her husband John. She shared a bit about her chickens with us last week in an article titled Let the Chickens do the Digging.
Here, she talks a bit about her Pollinator Gardens and shares a few more photos with us. It's important these days to plant things to support our native pollinators. So many of them are destroyed by agricultural chemicals, damaging weather, etc.
Hope you are inspired to plant a few plants in your garden that attract pollinators!
Pollinator Gardensby Debbie Burns
When we decided to convert to Wild Life Conservation for our land Ag Exemption we had no idea how much it would impact our lives. One of our goals was to create Pollinator Gardens to feed and nourish all kind of pollinators, not just butterflies or hummingbirds.
Since there is no water source in our pastures we wanted to test the Pollinator Garden idea in our yard, convenient to the water spigot with easy access for maintenance. We designed one in the front, the South Pollinator Garden, and one on the side, the West Pollinator Garden. Again, these were test gardens so we decided to not spend a lot in set up. We had some old landscape timbers – yes, I know they’re not food safe by any means, but they were already here and paid for – to edge the gardens and hold down landscape fabric or cardboard.
|The West Pollinator Garden|
We used the cardboard to mulch around the plants, on wet ground, then added pine bark mulch on top to make it look better. Surrounding the garden area I have a width of landscape fabric with stepping stones to hold it down. This was to prevent the yard Bermuda from taking over the garden area. So far that has worked well. I still need to put pine bark mulch on top of the landscape fabric but that has fallen to the bottom of the budget list. Since this is the first year for the plants I’ve had to water them regularly. I’m hoping that won’t be needed next year as their root system grows.
|The West Pollinator Garden showing walkway around the perimeter|
A friend invited me over to dig from her native plant collection. On her recommendation I purchased the Native Texas Plants book, which is fantastic. Most of her plants went into the West Pollinator Garden – daylily, lantana, salvia, sensitivity plant. I also purchased German chamomile and blue salvia that is outdoing itself in there.
I transplanted zinnias I seeded inside, but the self-seeded zinnia from last year out-did all the other plants in attracting the hummingbirds and butterflies to the West Garden. The hummingbirds flit from the flowers to the feeder hanging close-by on the clothes pole.
|South Pollinator Garden|
So how did these two simple gardens change our lives? It’s amazing how much time we spend watching the birds and butterflies zoom in and out around the gardens---especially the West garden with those bright red zinnias. At one time we counted eight hummingbirds buzzing around and we’ve seen swarms of butterflies hovering over the flowers. Wasps and mud daubers come to dig in the mud to build their nests.
The South Pollinator Garden has a shallow dish to supply water for the pollinators also.
|South Pollinator Garden|
|Swing beside the West Pollinator Garden|
We’ve found we’re enjoying our yard so much more than in past years, spending time on the porch swing beside the West Garden or walking out tending the plants in both gardens. I guess the Pollinator Gardens have drawn us up to them as well!