Book Review from The American Gardener:
The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening
Kim Eierman, Quarry Books, Beverly, MA. 160 pages. Publisher’s price, paperback: $26.99
Having worked as a garden designer for 15 years, I’m aware of the importance of native plants, but communicating this to my clients is not always easy. Kim Eierman’s book has given me the base knowledge and language I need to convey the message effectively — as well as inspiration to encourage greater advocacy. As she notes, “You don’t have to be an entomologist to realize that pollinators are in trouble, and you don’t have to be a professional landscaper or horticulturist to do something about it.”
The Pollinator Victory Garden increases our horticultural vocabulary by detailing the close-knit relationships of pollinators and plants. I learned that the buzz pollination techniques of native bumblebees on blueberries “creates twice as much fruit as honeybee pollinations.” I discovered that puddling describes a behavior of butterflies (mostly male) gathering salts from wet, stony ground and may help increase viability of future caterpillars. And floral balance is having a wide diversity of plants in sufficient quantities to support the pollen and nectar needs of pollinators so they may successfully reproduce.
Basic inventory charts in this well-researched guide consider succession and overlap of blooms; what types of flowers attract which species of pollinator; and which trees and shrubs are valuable for supporting pollinator reproduction and nectaring. We also learn how to make a sample host plant checklist for specific butterflies. While butterflies usually get the most attention, the author reminds us to not to forget nocturnal pollinators such as moths. The appendix includes lots of references for furthering our knowledge about gardening for pollinators.
Habitat considerations must be integral in designing gardens that support our native pollinators, and all of us can help. Where space is limited, even a native plant in a pot will add to the resources they need. As Eierman puts it, “A native flower is never more beautiful than when it’s graced by a nectaring pollinator.”
— Julia Bunn
Julia Bunn is the owner of the Spirited Gardener. An eco-functional landscape designer who is passionate about managing water with rain gardens, she is based in Evanston, Illinois.