One of my daily treks along the Boise Greenbelt revealed a new addition—a native plant and pollinator garden.
A posted sign explains:
“As the human population grows, so does our impact on the natural world. Buildings, roadways, and crops crowd out or completely eliminate the natural habitat needed by some species to survive. Pollinators are among those whose numbers are in decline.
“The City of Boise has installed an ‘insect hotel‘ at this location to provide a safe nesting site for insect pollinators. Its proximity to flowering plants ensures an adequate supply of nectar for feeding, and the hotel’s nooks and crevices offer a safe place for rearing offspring.”
In 2017, my sister gave me 1,500 ladybugs for my birthday. They arrived via special delivery with a “hotel.” And while the ladybugs didn’t take up residence in it (they were having too much fun eliminating aphids in the rose bushes), lots of other insects did. We have it located against the carport wall, underneath one of the rosebushes. It looks like a miniature version of the one in the native plant and pollinator garden along the Boise Greenbelt.
Do you, or does your city, take steps to promote native plants and pollinators?
What a unique and thoughtful gift from your sister, Laurie! 😀 At my son’s primary school one year they made an insect hotel! He was so excited the morning before lessons, and couldn’t wait to start building the hotel. Alas, no one had quite explained what was involved…he imagined a more ‘hotel’ element to the project – not a whole in the ground! These projects are terrific though!
Annika — I’m so glad to hear that schools are getting involved, teaching the children the importance of insects. How cool is that?! 🐝
The primary schools do so much outdoors nowadays, with a day in a local wood each week, gardening afternoons, nature trials … I learnt a lot whilst my son was at school there! 😀 It is fantastic and I think this generation with their heightened awareness will be the ones to effect positive change.
Annika — Cheers to the generations that inherit this earth. May they have heightened awareness and effect positive change 🙂
What a beautiful gift! And yes, I am glad to say we see more and more of these bug hotels wherever we go. I even made my own for our back garden 3 years ago (it was a memory on FB recently). Let’s hope we can save these vital critters! 👍💖
Fatima — I think it’s COOL that you made a bug hotel for your garden! 🐝
I so wish we did–what a wonderful idea, Laurie. We had one gardening center…kind of out of the way, but I loved that place. Sadly, I think most people would rather go to Wal-Mart or Lowes and pick up plants….whether they are native to our area or not. The gardening center wound up closing….
LoisaJay — I’m sad to learn that the gardening center closed. It’s so important to support local, independent stores.
I so agree. There were a lot of disgruntled gardeners when that shop closed.
Your question prompted me to check our city’s website: “Jacksonville boasts the largest urban park system in the nation with more than 80,000 acres of parks, including 3 National Parks, 7 State Parks and more than 400 City Parks, plus dozens of unique gardens and an arboretum.”
The arboretum in the Arlington area is my favorite. Volunteers make sure the native plants are labeled and nurtured. We sometimes see an alligator from the safety of the hiking path. (Gasp!) I’ve also seen “pet” rocks, decorated comically for our amusement. 🙂
Marian — I’m impressed at Jacksonville’s park system. That’s incredible! 🌳
What a wonderful gift Laurie. I used to inspire children to build bug hotels in local schools. They loved it. On Saturday, I am going to a workshop on ways to aid bee conservation.
WatchingTheDaisies — I applaud your community for offering a workshop on aiding bee conservation. That’s wonderful! 🐝
My flower gardens are plants for bees and butterflies, and I see plenty of both. I also keep a large patch of milkweed in the field behind my yard, as we are one of the stops on the migration path of the Monarch Butterfly, and that is the main food source for the Monarch caterpillars. As for shrubs and trees, I consider the birds, with service berry bushes that hold their fruit through the winter, and grapes left on the vines for nibbling. I have a shallow ceramic dish that provides water for all. I love that community gardens are also considering – and encouraging – their non-human visitors!
Cindy — yes, Yes, YES! My hat is off to YOU! 🎩
What a wonderful idea! I’ve always had plenty of bees in my yard as long as I keep at least one lavender plant alive, but I would love to see more ladybugs, especially since I plan to establish a rose garden this year. I believe my favorite garden center sells containers of ladybugs but I’ll look around and see if they also have something like the “hotel.” I love that!
Patricia — You’re a woman with a plan. Onward! 🐞
What a great idea. Owatonna is a “Tree City” and recently has been promoting rain gardens, native wildflowers, and working to protect and extend monarch butterfly habitat. Just a few weeks ago we were designated a “pollinator-friendly city.”
Not bad for 26,000 people.
Chris — I love that designation: “A Pollinator-Friendly City.” How darned cool is that?! 🦋
I love your insect hotel! I think I shall have to seek out one of those. Sadly, our area seems to do nothing for insects – I have planted bird and insect friendly shrubs and plants, and do not use insecticides or herbicides, but this hotel would be a perfect addition!
Carol — If you can’t find one at a local, independent garden center, you might be able to find one on Amazon 🙂
I did look on Amazon, and think I’ll order one, or maybe 2, in the near future.
Laurie, I have been thinking of all the benefits of white clover in the landscape. We have a barely-covered-in-grass sloping clay hill as the backbone of the Meditation Garden at our church. I think, having hours of research under my belt, that our best choice will be to go with white clover this Spring. It’s a common pasture plant around here and once established in your lawn can be hard to remove. Exactly what I want. Soil building, nitrogen fixing, evergreen and low maintenance, it’s what I want in a ground cover for specific plots farther out in less visited areas. Why? Because the blooms attract bees and other beneficial insects. As much as we love the bees and the butterflies, we don’t want any stings and with 3 acres to deal with, I think we can all have enough room to enjoy the scenery.
Sandi — It sounds like you’ve landed on the perfect solution. WHITE CLOVER it is! 🙂
We have mason bee boxes for the orchard at the old house, we have a small one at the new house but no residents yet! Our city is extremely Green and pro-active. We have been doing the Green New Deal for at least 30 years here. My children carry spiders out of the house. Because we are a port city we are not so friendly with the rats! Aggressive nasty pests – this year we are thinking about some traps? We complain a bit about the deer and the bunnies but no one does anything about them. Green is so good – lovely way to live. We have about 15 bee keepers we have discovered on our walk. Lots of peeper frogs for mosquito control.
Patricia — It sounds like you’ve got it going on! Even down to peeper from for mosquito control. 🐸
I do notice an increase in native plant gardens and pollinator efforts. I actually bought a beautiful “bee hotel” in Costco the other day. I couldn’t believe it. Costco! I hope that means more people are willing to invite bees and other beneficial insects into their gardens. I think awareness is slowly taking hold. I’m glad you’re encouraging the conversation, Lori!
Debra — Like you, I’m going get a bee hotel this year. We have lots of them that visit the roses bushes, but I’d like them to “check in and stay awhile” 🐝
Our refuge just had a program on native bees. Fun fact, I learned was that they were first known as Dumble-dores, then humble (hummm) bees, finally bumble beess.Then, I learned our honey bees (which live longer) are causing problems for their cousins. One can find out more about your area native bees by googling or going to iNaturalists.com .
We also educate on and advocate for Monarchs and birds. This Spring look for your areas’Bird-a-thon!
I do personally plant pollinator plants.
Audrey — That is a fun fact. Thank you for sharing it, along with the iNaturalists.com website. I’m going to check out our area’s “bird-a-thon, too. Thank you! 🙂
Love the idea of an insect hotel! How helpful (for this purpose) to receive bugs in the post too:) Useful too to have roses nearby to benefit from your garden’s new addition. Thanks for the idea Laurie … Enjoy your garden.
Suz — We love the roses that surround us. And then come May 1, we hang hummingbird feeders and sit out and enjoy them for hours on end 🙂
is a wonderful
SmileCalm — Agreed 🙂
A few of my friends have taken up beekeeping, and we planted a wild flower garden at our church. It’s an idea to look into a hotel to go along with it.
Arlene — It sounds like you hang out with good people! Beekeeping fascinates me 🐝
What a lovely idea , a ladybug birthday pressie. It seems she knows YOU really well .
I ‘m not sure of any contribution towards pollination in our area but you can be sure I will look in to it . All the U.K. seems to think about at th moment is BREXIT ….please let’s not go there ,
🤨 pollination sounds much more fun to me 😀
Cherry — In a Pollination vs. Brexit discussion, Pollination wins every time 🐝
What a great gift and great post!
KKessler — Thank you! 🙂
I have seen many ‘bug houses’ along the river where I usually walk. Difficult to tell if they have some residents, but they might.
InesePhoto — They’re probably tucked away during the day and venture out for evening adventures 🙂
That is a lovely birth day present!
Amy — It was one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received 🙂
Love those ladybugs!
James — I know. Right?! 🐞
Such wonderful friends to have in our gardens.
Now THAT gift is like no other I’ve ever been told of! Wow! Our neighboring town Ridgefield maintain a specious bird sanctuary in a woodland enclave running two blocks x four!!
Sam — I know, right? I was bowled over to receive ladybugs 🐞