Pollinator ideas

Suggestions from the National Pollinator Garden Network:

• Flowers provide nectar, which is high in sugar and amino acids, and pollen, which is high in protein, to the pollinators. Fermenting fallen fruits also provide food for bees, beetles and butterflies. Specific host plants are eaten by the larvae of pollinators such as butterflies.

• Flowers planted in clumps are more attractive to pollinators than scattered individual flowers. If a pollinator can visit the same type of flower over and over, it doesn’t have to relearn how to enter the flower and can transfer pollen to the same species instead of squandering the pollen on unreceptive flowers.

• Plant with bloom season in mind, providing food from early spring to late fall. Flowers of different color, fragrance and season of bloom on plants of different heights will attract different pollinator species and provide pollen and nectar throughout the season.

Early-blooming pollinator plants: California poppy, chives, clover, lupine, poppy, sweet alyssum

Midseason pollinator plants: Basil, blanket flower/Gaillardia, calendula, cilantro, echinacea, cosmos, dill, lavender, Monarda, squash, pumpkin, thyme, tickseed/soreopsis

Late-blooming pollinator plants: Agastache, amaranth, dahlia, marigold, salvia, scabiosa, sunflower, zinnia

For the past few months, Walmart has used its Redmond store for a pollinator garden project to help increase the number of bees and butterflies, which have suffered severe population declines.

The Redmond store off Canal Boulevard — along with 20 other Walmart stores across the country — has a garden outside with flowers and plants to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Wendy Widener, program leader for the Walmart pollinator project, said the pilot project is a way for the national retail corporation to use its size and scale to help with an ongoing environmental issue.

According to national reports, the population loss of honeybees reached 40.7% this year. And the monarch butterfly population has dropped 90% in the past 20 years.

Widener, who works from Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, said a goal of the project is to encourage customers, employees and other community members to plant their own pollinator gardens.

“We hope it really inspires our customers to make a nice garden in their own area,” Widener said.

Pollinator gardens are at Walmart stores in four other Oregon cities: Lebanon, Salem, Hermiston and Pendleton. The other gardens are at 14 stores in Washington, one in North Carolina and one at the corporate headquarters in Arkansas. The gardens were planted in April and May.

Walmart chose the locations in the Northwest and North Carolina to launch the project because those areas had willing community partners who helped create the gardens, Widener said.

In Redmond, Walmart worked with the city’s wastewater department to set up the garden.

“We worked together to figure out how to do this and make a difference in the community,” Widener said.

Next spring, Walmart plans to grow the project and add gardens at more stores.

No decisions have been made about how the project will grow, but plans will be discussed over the winter, Widener said.

Helping to increase the populations of bees and butterflies has a direct benefit to food production. In Oregon, pollinators help grow blueberries, Marionberries, raspberries and pears.

Widener hopes the garden project helps make a difference for the pollinators.

“We want to make our communities and locations more beautiful,” Widener said. “We want to be a partner with the communities and make an impact on the environment.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com