Make your garden pollinator-friendly


The Colorado Master Gardener Program is a statewide program that educates gardeners in the community about gardening in the high country of Archuleta County. They in turn pass along this information to others in various volunteer activities including writing educational articles for the public.

The following article was written by Kathy Kunemund, a 2017 graduate of the Archuleta County Master Gardener program.

If you are busy planning your garden this spring, think about enhancing it to be more pollinator-friendly. What are pollinators and why do we need them? Many types of animals are part of the pollination process. Some of these include birds and bats, but the most common pollinators are insects.

Ninety-nine percent of pollinators are insects and of those most are bees. Pollinators move pollen from the male structure of flowers (anthers) to female structures (pistil) of another flower. Movement of the pollen results in fertilization, and the plant will then grow seeds and fruit.

The pollination process is beneficial to both plants and pollinators. Pollination will result in the production of seeds, which can ensure the next generation of plants to be grown. In return, the pollinators receive nectar or pollen, which provide nutritional benefits to sustain life.

Both animal and insect pollinators are facing many threats that include lack of flowers for food and water, habitat loss and insecticide misuse. Gardeners can play an important and positive role in improving pollinator populations.

What’s a gardener to do?

First, grow more flowers. When possible, choose native plants and have something blooming throughout the growing season, whether they are annuals or perennials. A variety of colors, shapes and sizes will ensure a variety of pollinators.

Consult the Pollinator Partnership for a comprehensive list of flowering plants that attract pollinators in our region or, for additional information, visit:

Don’t overlook trees, shrubs and herbs in attracting pollinators. Examples for our region include:

Trees: maple, serviceberry, crabapple and chokeberry.

Shrubs: ninebark, viburnum and lilac.

Herbs: basil, oregano and catmint.

Vegetable gardens are another source to bring pollinators in. Planting flowers or herbs in the vegetable garden will greatly increase insect pollinators.

Secondly, try to reduce the use of pesticides as much as possible. Look for alternatives or consult with our Archuleta County Colorado State University Extension office for help with pest management.

Nesting sites for pollinators should be evaluated. Bees and butterflies need spaces that provide the opportunity to nest or overwinter. Try to allow for patches of bare soil, clumping grasses or groupings of stones in or near your garden to provide a nesting habitat for these species. Having a water source helps pollinators, too. It is needed for drinking and reproduction. Look at various options like bird baths, water features or wading areas. By maintaining healthy pollinator populations, we can ensure future generations of plants will flourish.

Information for this article was taken from “Pollinator Conservation,” Xerces Society, Feb. 29, 2016.

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are now being offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.

We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations.

Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience.