More and more, Manitobans are looking for ways to help pollinators at homes, schools, and businesses. An excellent way to get involved is by creating pollinator habitat in public spaces. Public gardens allow the community to see how beautiful and effective pollinator-friendly plantings can be. Their presence serves as inspiration for others to get involved in creating habitat, showcasing a variety of garden shapes, sizes, and arrangements that are achievable in urban settings.
Public gardens also reveal that your park, school, or business is conscious of the issue of pollinator declines and is working to do their part to take action. Bee Better Manitoba signage in your public garden will show the steps you’ve taken towards pollinator conservation, while also educating the public about beneficial pollinator habitat.
Bee Better Manitoba would like to help public gardens advertise their commitment to pollinator-friendly habitat. We have compiled what are considered pollinator-friendly criteria. If your garden meets those criteria, we provide a sign and learning resources to help educate the community about your garden.
The signs include a QR code linking to our website, where we provide information on pollinators and how they are supported in gardens, and encourage exploration of other Bee Better Manitoba sites.
How it Works
To receive a Bee Better Manitoba garden sign, your garden must satisfy the following criteria:
- 1. More than 50% of plants are native perennial
The plants in this garden are endemic to the prairie region, providing pollen, nectar, and larval hosts for local pollinators from spring to fall.
- 2. No more than 50% of plants are non-native
This includes plants native to other prairie regions, horticultural varieties derived from native species, or non-native annuals. These plants must be capable of providing pollen and/or nectar. Avoid pollenless varieties.
- 3. Nesting habitat is available
This garden supports many nesting requirements, including ground nesting and cavity nesting. This may include areas of bare soil, old wood, natural crevices, and hollow stems. The soil is not tilled.
- 4. Overwintering habitat is available
This garden is not cleared in fall, and is left intact until spring temperatures are consistently 10-15 degrees Celsius. Cut stems are left at variable heights, up to 60 cm. Natural leaf litter covers the soil surface over winter.
- 5. Pesticide Free
Herbicides and insecticides are not used in this garden. Plants purchased follow the Bee Better Manitoba guidelines for pesticide exposure.
Exposure to pesticides:
The most pollinator-friendly flowers are produced without the use of pesticides, particularly those designed to kill insects by persisting in plant tissues (including pollen and nectar). These types of pesticides, which are considered systemic (residual), are often conventional practice. Unfortunately, the plants produced when using these chemicals are not safe for pollinators. See Buying Bee Safe Plants from the Xerces Society for specific pesticides to avoid.
The following categories are the least harmful to pollinators:
a) Certified Organic - No pesticides were used, or the pesticides were designated as organic. Note that to use this designation, the product must be officially certified as indicated in Manitoba’s Organic Agricultural Products Act.
b) Pesticide-Free Production - No pesticides were used from seed to sale. However, growers have the option of applying a non-residual pesticide if a pest outbreak occurs while maintaining the pesticide-free designation. This category was defined by the University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
c) Minimal Pesticide - Non-residual pesticides were applied when needed. This may include Integrated Pest Management - pesticides and natural controls used in combination to minimize financial loss and health risks. This category was defined by Bee Better Manitoba.
Ready for a Sign?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org noting you would like to participate in our Pollinator-Friendly Garden Program and include the following information:
- Name and location of your garden
- A brief description of your garden
- How your garden meets the five criteria mentioned above
- Pictures of your garden
Our Bee Better Manitoba Working Group will review your submission and get in touch with you as soon as possible.
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