Don’t worry that your garden will be overrun with critters when garden experts suggest planting for wildlife.
You’ll actually be providing a great landscape to attract and support pollinators and other beneficial insects, says Bob Henrickson, horticulture program coordinator for the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.
Often, he says, people select plants that only beautify and make their lives better. “Now we’ve realized we have to be thinking of something greater than us,” he said.
In the past, if you saw a bug on a plant, you might quickly reach for the insect spray. Now, it’s about planting regionally native species that those important insects need to eat to survive — just as they’ve been doing for millennia.
You don’t have to tear up your current garden to keep bees and butterflies around. Just expand your garden space this spring to include a mix of native prairie plants.
“Reduce some of the turf grass and put in a landscape bed and let that include plants you wouldn’t have included in the past,’’ Henrickson says. “If we all just did a little bit, it would go a long way toward shoring up our nation’s diversity of plantings.’’
Henrickson’s top regional perennial plants:
Plan your garden in January with the Midwest Local Gardeners.
The garden event will be held Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lauritzen Gardens. Lunch and a hands-on workshop will cost $50 before Jan. 12 and $75 after.
Jim Locklear, the director of conservation at Lauritzen, will speak on conservation and seed saving.
Bryan Kinghorn of Kinghorn Gardens will talk about incorporating prairie grass and other local flora in “jewel box gardens.”
Scott Evans from the Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties will share information about perennials that work best in the Midwest.
A question and answer period will follow each speaker. Loveland Garden Club is the sponsor.
“You will leave with a plan, seeds and inspiration to enjoy the garden you’ve been dreaming about,’’ said organizer Sheila Fitzgerald.
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Bee nest build contest
Nebraska Wildlife Federation is holding a wild bee nest design-build contest.
It’s open to all ages and the top bee nest submissions will be posted along the 13th Street Pollinator Flyway in Lincoln.
Individual and team submissions are encouraged. The deadline is April 1.
For detailed submission guidelines go to nebraskawildlife.org.
Nebraska Wildlife secured the Nebraska Academy of Science mini-grant to spearhead the project. Partners include the Downtown Lincoln Association and the UNL Bee Lab.