Everyone is concerned about pollinators, and rightly so. May I make a suggestion? The Herb Society of America sponsors a program called “Green Bridges.” It’s primary goal is to form “bridges” of not only safe passage for pollinators, providing food and water for them, but also to save important plants. Each Green Bridges garden is a link in the chain across America, providing safe movement for the plants and pollinators that help maintain healthy ecosystems.
The focus is on native herbs, because they are generally excellent plants for pollinators, and many of the plants themselves are under stress from development, climate change, habitat fragmentation, non-native invasive species, and over-collection of some plant species in the wild. Native herbs and plants are important not only because of their usefulness to pollinators, but also by definition they have value as one or more of the following: flavoring, medicine, cosmetic, industrial, ornament or economic. They also help clean the air, filter water, moderate the climate and more. Millions of insects rely on plants for food, and countless wildlife species find them beneficial in one way or another.
You may not think that you grow many native herbs, but you will be amazed how many common plants fall into that category, especially if you grow without lawn chemicals, have fencerows or even small wooded areas. If you need assistance, the HSA will help. If you’d like to participate, simply go to www.herbsociety.org/greenbridges/native-herbs.html and download the application. On it you’ll describe your garden and list the plants, especially any native herbs you grow. Mail it, along with a check ($15 for HSA members, $20 for non-members) to the Herb Society of America. If accepted, your garden will be a certified Green Bridges garden and you will receive this sign to place in your garden. Sorry, this program is for American gardens only, but those of you across the globe should check to see if there are similar movements available locally.