Now that the weather is (finally) starting to warm up, queen bumble bees are coming out of hibernation and red admiral butterflies are arriving home after their long migration from the southern states. With many plants not yet in bloom, these pollinators feed on the nectar and pollen of early blooming plants, like red maple, willows and spring ephemerals.
Increasing early spring blooms in your yard is one way you can support early pollinators. Here are three ways you can incorporate these flowers into your yard or garden.
Add blooming natives to your lawn
Add diversity and a splash of colour by allowing low-growing plants like wild strawberry, strict blue-eyed-grass and common silverweed to spread throughout your lawn. These plants provide important nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies. Practice No Mow May to allow flowers to bloom.
Reduce your lawn
Extend garden beds or create new ones. Plant a variety of native plants, like early blooming prairie smoke and Canada anemone in sunny areas and bloodroot and sharp-lobed hepatica in shade. Make sure to also include plants that bloom later in the season to continue helping pollinators in summer and fall.
Convert to a low-maintenance lawn
If your lawn doesn’t have heavy foot traffic, you can create a beautiful tapestry lawn of different colours and textures by planting masses of native ground covers, like Pennsylvania sedge, common blue violet and wild ginger.
If you need space for kids or pets to run around, try seeding your lawn with a low-maintenance eco-lawn seed mixture. These are usually made up of non-native fescues and tend to grow slower and need less water.