Hug a shrub, help a critter

Witch hazel blooms

Get a hop on helping pollinators by planting a Witch hazel now. North American native varieties bloom in late fall or very early spring.

I just got the cutest poster in the mail. Hand-drawn pictures of flowers, shrubs and trees illustrated “Ontario’s pollinator pals”–pollinator-friendly plants that Ontario Nature is suggesting you plant in your garden. It’s a good idea. Bees, butterflies, moths and birds help spread pollen so that more plants grow. We should help these critters by supplying them with food and shelter. Simple enough.

But the message is actually an urgent and very personal call to action for every one of us. As Ontario Nature points out “Pollinators are responsible for every one out of three bits of food you put in your mouth.” Unfortunately, these critters are being wiped out by a variety of disasters including climate change, habitat loss, loss of food sources, crashing into buildings, structures and cars and, of course, pesticides.

I’m pointing out the list of shrubs in particular because:

  • Now (early fall) is a terrific time to plant a shrub
  • Lots of garden nurseries are putting their best sellers on sale
  • A shrub can be a little less of a commitment than a tree.

Here’s what Ontario Nature is suggesting:

  • Witch-hazel
  • Chokecherry
  • Serviceberry
  • Nannyberry
  • New Jersey Tea
  • Common Ninebark
  • Common Elderberry

Go ahead. Hug a shrub. Save a critter. Help keep pollinators pollinating.



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