It doesn’t matter whether your piece of land is a tiny patch of land or acres wide… or maybe it’s just a few flowerpots on your balcony or herb boxes on your kitchen windowsill.
Maximize the benefits you can gift to the earth in your area by being highly strategic in what you plant.
Have you ever heard of keystone plant species? These are plants that have a major and usually disproportionate impact on the animals and plants of a particular ecosystem. Planting some of these in an organized garden is like making a promise to mother nature that you will bring your land into alignment for the highest and best good of the animals and plants surrounding you.
Keystone species can also refer to things like seagrass, prairie dogs, whales, tigers, and monarch butterflies, to name a few. Conservationists raise consciousness and money for such species when they try to protect them.
This 2:35-minute video by expeditionspatrick is called Prairie Dogs: Keystone species and gives great insight into the concept:
Native keystone plants help protect bees and many other types of insect species, and so they are very important to humanity because we need pollinators for the many types of natural food we enjoy eating and to protect our ecosystems. Pollinators keep us fed. Without them, humans and many animals would not survive for long.
Most of us know that bee populations around the world are fighting for their survival and have been for at least a decade. Planting bee-friendly flowers in our gardens is more important than ever. So many natural bee habitats disappear every day that many bees are going hungry. Two other highly important pollinators are butterflies and moths. Caterpillars provide many benefits to forests and fields.
As pollinator habitats increasingly disappear, imagine the bounty you give these creatures when they come upon your native pollinator-friendly garden. It is like a nomad finding an oasis in the middle of a desert, with abundant food, water, and shelter.
Here is a list of plants to consider growing in your earthy domain that help many pollinators. Not all plants will grow everywhere, so consult with your local nursery or garden expert before ordering any.
Goldenrod, wild strawberries, wild sunflowers, violets, sagebrush, wormwood, and trefoil.
Some keystone trees that are great for many pollinators are listed below, so again see if they grow in your region before buying them.
Willows, oaks, cherries, plums, peaches, (prunus), pines and such populus as poplars, aspens, and cottonwoods. Good non-native trees that can be beneficial are gingko and crape myrtles.
If you plant some of these native keystone species, you are bound to have many butterflies and moths visit your garden as well as bees, and you should be happy to know you are doing a lot to help your ecosystems. We advocate for bees all the time, but moths, butterflies and caterpillars really need these native keystone plants just as much as bees do.