Pollinator Paradise YXE
Love beauty. Support biodiversity. Help us create Pollinator Paradise YXE!
Cities are not only built. They are also planted. The grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees in our yards and public spaces create habitat for creatures large and small. By choosing plants that provide food and shelter for a wide variety of species, we can turn ordinary urban places into biodiversity hotspots. In particular, we can support the life-sustaining process of pollination, simply by choosing plants that are attuned to the needs of our native pollinating insects.
Why is it important to create habitat for pollinators? Need a quick how-to?
- Adventure Guides
Growing With Native Plants – focusses on why it is so important to grow native plants and includes lists of plants that support the highest number of butterfly and moth larvae, as well as those that provide nectar for large numbers of pollinators.
City Wildflowers Tour – focusses on our 2022 Spring Garden Tour and includes lists of plants for part and full shade, as well as tips on removing lawn.
- Video guides
A Complete Local Guide to Growing Native Plants
Bringing Beauty Home: Growing Native Plants from Seed
Want to know more about wild pollinators? The Xerxes Foundation for Invertebrate Conservation has you covered, check it out here! For a technical guide to wild bee ID courtesy of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, click here. To learn more about the beauty of Saskatchewan’s wildflowers, check out Glen Lee’s wonderful site here.
Certify your garden with Pollinator Paradise YXE
When you certify your garden, you can receive a beautiful Pollinator Paradise YXE sign. Registering for a Pollinator Paradise YXE sign is free. However, if you would like to support the expansion of this project, we would be grateful for your support. All donations are eligible for tax receipts issued by our good friends at the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan. Use the link below. Select the option “Use the donation where it is needed most” and in the message box write “use for Pollinator Paradise.”
Register your garden with the form at the bottom of this webpage.
To join Pollinator Paradise YXE, your garden (or schoolyard or park) needs to meet four basic requirements.
1. Flowering plants
Variety is the spice of the local food system – variety of plants, birds, and insects including caterpillars, butterflies, and moths. With that in mind we ask that you have planted a minimum of 15 individual plants that are native to the Saskatoon area including:
· At least one kind of plant that is important food for caterpillars. Caterpillars grow into butterflies and moths, but first they need plants to munch on. These larvae also provide food for nestling songbirds and other wildlife. Some plants host more species of caterpillars than others and thus help support more butterflies and moths and more birds. Not sure which plants support the most caterpillars in our area? Learn more here.
· At least one wildflower species that provides pollen and nectar for pollinating insects. Butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects need sweet nectar and protein-rich pollen to survive and thrive. Find the sweetest choices here.
· A succession of blooms through the growing season (early May to late October) or a plan to make this happen. You don’t have to plant them all in one year. Each flower has its bloom period. We want to make sure there are no gaps between one flower ending its flowering and another beginning. Otherwise, there is a gap in the food supply for pollinators. The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan has a wealth of resources including inventories of native plants that grow here.
2. Nesting and wintering sites
Bees need a place to nest. The requirements will vary depending on species. Bumblebees might form a colony in a mulch pile or underground in a mouse nest. Solitary wild bees nest in hollow stems or in undisturbed ground. Some adult butterflies and moths, as well as larvae, overwinter under mulch, and fallen leaves.
Wild bees and butterflies need a source of water, shallow enough so they will not drown. A shallow pan (or upside down frisbee) with a few stones in it for pollinators to land on is all you need.
4. Ongoing care
Together, these practices will provide healthy habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, and strengthen the interconnections in your yard and garden ecosystem. All are recommended. Those marked * are required for certification.
· Weed, water, and tend. You may wish to thin or move plants – don’t worry if you act as a disturbance.
· Eliminate pesticides. *
· Do your best to control and avoid growing invasive plants. The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan has advice on what not to grow and which native plants to choose instead. *
· Leave stems standing, leave the leaves in the fall. *Add brush piles and rockpiles. * In the spring wait until the temperature stays at plus 10 for about a week before you rake.
· Love your lawn a little less. Consider replacing turf grass with native grasses and flowers. Join the No Mow May movement and reduce the frequency of mowing throughout the season to let dandelions and clovers bloom as resources for bees.
· Can you see the stars? Plants and animals are attuned to the natural cycle of daylight and nighttime darkness. Adding excessive artificial light to our gardens causes disruptions to natural life cycles and behaviours. Sometimes, it’s good to be in the dark.
Pollinator Paradise Certification
Pollinator Paradise YXE connects you with a growing community of people who are enhancing and restoring our local ecosystem, one garden at a time. To qualify for a Pollinator Paradise YXE sign, simply answer YES to the following questions. All the information you need to answer these questions is available above on this page.
Please note, we ask for the garden site address in order to accurately track the number of Pollinator Paradises in each neighbourhood. We will not share any personal or identifying information.