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Pollinators for all seasons

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This time of year, butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and even bats are busy tending to fresh blooms. Several pollinator gardens around the UMass campus are erupting in gorgeous flowers for humans to delight in as well. But the UMass Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment reminds us that even in their seemingly lifeless state over the winter, pollinator gardens are doing important work—providing sheltered nesting areas and habitats for overwintering. “Gardeners should wait to trim and prune until after pollinator emergence,” they advise.

Dried flowers over white backdrop.

Thinking of incorporating your own pollinator-friendly plantings? Try the common serviceberry, which attracts western tiger swallowtail butterflies, or milkweed for monarchs. For the sphinx moth, also called the “hummingbird moth,” plant columbine and honeysuckle. These moths prefer pale or white flowers that open in the evening and blooms that have a strong, sweet smell.

UMass researchers have also discovered a link between plant genetics and how their flowers are formed that sheds light on the existence of such a wide variety of types of flowers in the world.

Watch this video about the creation of one of the university’s several pollinator gardens: