By Chris Cohan

Good things happen when you grow a pollinator garden. Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, as well as every gardener and farmer will applaud you. The pretty pollinators will flutter over to your home and perform a daily show for you.

Honeybees have been disappearing in record numbers, and they are not the only pollinators in jeopardy. Some butterflies, like the enchanting Monarch, and native bees have also experienced dramatic declines in their populations.

Pollinators are a diverse and fascinating group that we must thank for our vegetables, flowers, berries, and fruit orchards. They make it happen. They ask for so very little. Leave them alone and they will ignore you. In return they will ensure that you are able to get the crispiest apples, sweetest strawberries, reddest tomatoes, and flowers galore. Their unpaid efforts to ensure crops is estimated at $4 billion!

Always plant in clumps, rather than in lines or scattered. A succession of flowering plants from spring until fall is best. Flowers of different shapes will attract different pollinators. DO NOT use pesticides.

Every flower border, bed, whiskey barrel, and window box helps. Start small, start big, just start. Here are some great and readily available pollinator plants to consider:

Early bloomers

Chives, clover, dianthus, lupine, viola, poppy, mustards, sweet alyssum

Mid-season bloomers

Basil, Black–eyed Susan, Butterfly weed, coneflower, cosmos, dill, lavender, monarda, thyme, coreopsis, caryopteris

Late bloomers

Cleome, dahlia, marigold, salvia, sunflower, zinnia, amaranth, butterfly bush, and goldenrod.