We don't often to say you cannot do this or that in the garden, but when it comes to Planting for Pollinators we have a few Don'ts we think you will like!
-- Don’t over mulch. Stick with pine straw or small small bark nuggets. We don't want to smother the garden, just keep the soil cooler and less apt to germinate seeds. And a few bare areas are inviting to valuable ground nesting bees.
-- Don't space out the plants. In general we don't spend enough time in nature, that’s why I think we still fall into the old habit of spacing plants far apart. Visit a natural prairie and you will be hard pressed to find open spaces. Plants grow together and they intermingle. When they do, they support each other, help block out weeds, keep the soil cooler and when one plant fails, it’s difficult to even tell.
-- Don't deadhead! What's attractive about many of the pollinator plants is when they are in bloom they attract bees and butterflies and when the flowers fade, the seed heads are preferred feeding stations for many attractive birds.
-- Don't use chemicals! Hand weed. You may balk at this one, but, if you plant lushly and prepare your soil well for your new garden, weeds shouldn’t be much of an issue. I will say, spending a little quiet time in the garden weeding has led to discoveries I would have missed, like toads resting under leaves, honey bees and bumblebees resting on my arm, a praying mantis on the prowl and butterflies within arm’s reach. The little bit of hand weeding you will do will allow you to slow down and really appreciate the marvelous ecosystem you created with your pollinator garden.