Creating and enhancing pollinator habitat is of growing interest to Granite State land owners, property managers, farmers, and landscapers. As a result, New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station scientists have developed a list of the most beneficial wildflowers to plant to support the state’s native wild bees.
“The interest in helping pollinators has been astounding. There are literally hundreds of pollinator gardens and habitats that have been installed in New Hampshire alone in the last few years,” experiment station researcher Cathy Neal said.
Neal has conducted nearly 10 years of wildflower meadow trials at the experiment station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm. She has found that wildflower meadows comprised of a mixture of herbaceous perennials such as golden rod, asters, black-eyed Susans, bergamot, coneflowers and potentially many more, are extremely valuable places for bees to forage for food. The New Hampshire wildflower mix is ideal for medium to dry soils in full sun. Neal has also evaluated different seeding rates, to find the optimal balance between wildflower density and cost, since wildflower seed is expensive.
“The more species of wildflowers we can pack in, the better, with the goal being to have something in bloom for the bees from May through late October,” said Neal, who also is a horticulture specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension.