To celebrate our local pollinators I made three cards you can take into the garden or your back yard to look for these garden super stars. You can ask us for a hard copy or download and print the pdfs below. As you walk through the garden, look for the colours and patterns on the BINGO card photos. Get a sense of the general shape of the insect. Is it round and fuzzy, or slim-waisted and hairless? How many wings does it have? How are the eyes positioned on the face? Be curious. Ask questions. Take your own photos and compare them to the photos on the card when you get home. Try uploading the photos on iNaturalist to help scientists gather important data on pollinator health. Any photos of butterflies can be added to the Butterflies in my Backyard project created by the David Suzuki Foundation.
When we designed the Riley Park Community Garden, we made sure to create an infrastructure that would feed the insects and birds that help pollinate the food we grow. From the native salmonberries that bloom early in the spring for the queen bumblebees to the goldenrod and asters that bloom in late summer and early fall, we chose plants that provide nectar and pollen for our local bees, flies, beetles, wasps, and hummingbirds. Many food plants bloom only for a short period of two weeks, but many pollinators need food from early spring to fall. This means planting perennials, herbs, and shrubs that successively bloom for longer periods of time so there are no gaps in the foraging season.
What are the hotspots to look for pollinators in late June? Search for fireweed, yarrow, catmint, snowberry and sage. You’re sure to find all sorts of pollinators slurping down the nectar and the female bees will be collecting pollen from these plants.
For more information on British Columbia's native bees, check out the website for the Native Bee Society of British Columbia.
The garden is also part of the Vancouver Butterflyway produced by the David Suzuki Foundation. For more info, check out the website.
Click the links below to download the pdfs. Have fun!