Create Your Own Pollinator Garden

Skipper on dotted gayfeather

Skipper on native dotted gayfeather – Spring Creek Prairie near Denton, NE

We’re waiting until fall to transplant some perennials and shrubs into the Cherry Creek Habitat – it’s just too hot now. If you’re thinking of creating a pollinator friendly landscape, now’s a good time to do some planning. You could start your project this fall. Here are some tips from the U.S. Forest Service:

  • Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall. Plant in clumps or groups instead of single plantings of a flower. Try to use plants native to your area. Oh and don’t forget night-blooming flowers for moths and bats.
  • Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially those with “doubled” flowers. These flowers may look beautiful to us, but plant breeders may have sacrificed pollen, nectar and fragrance for their “modern” beauty.
  • Eliminate pesticides whenever possible. Follow an Integrated Pest Management approach (IPM).
  • Include larval host plants. If you want butterflies, you need plants for the caterpillars. A butterfly guide for your region will help you know what plants you need in your butterfly garden. For example: We have purposely left common milkweed for the butterflies. It is one of the important plants for monarchs.
  • Create a damp salt lick for butterflies and bees. You can use a drip hose or just place your bird bath on bare soil to create a damp area. Mix a small bit of table salt (sea salt is better!) or wood ashes into the mud and you have a great place for butterflies and bees to hang out.
  • If safe, leave a dead limb or branch. These are nesting sites for some bees. Make a bee box or insect hotel (condo).
  • Encourage pollinators like hummingbirds to your garden by using a feeder. It is easy to make your own nectar.
  • Did you know butterflies need resources other than nectar? These beautiful creatures are attracted to moist animal droppings, urine and rotting fruits.

To learn more about Celebrating Wildflowers and Pollinators, visit

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!


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About Soni Cochran

Mother, Wife, Grandma! I am an extension associate with the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. I work with urban pests and wildlife, youth programs and manage the office web site at My degree is in education and I taught in rural public schools in Nebraska before coming to Nebraska Extension - UNL. I am Deputy Commander of the 155th Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol in Lincoln - my focus is on public affairs, disaster relief and emergency services. Great organization of adults/teens serving this nation. Love my family, jobs, and sharing my love of nature and the outdoors with anyone who will listen.

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