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Celebrate National Pollinator Week: Planting NJ Native Pollinator Gardens and DIY Carpentry Craft Projects for Pollinators

Updated: Jun 28

This week is National Pollinator Week!  You might find yourself asking, what does that have to do with carpentry? Well, everything, really. All of the lumber used in our building projects from railings to stairs to cabinetry come from mature trees, which are the direct result of the work of pollinators like bees, birds, bats, butterflies, and more.

Anywhere from 75% to 95% of flowering plants on our planet need assistance in the pollination process; relatedly, 35% of the world’s food source crops require pollinators to reproduce.  The plants that native pollinators support and assist have a lot of additional benefits for the environment, too, including stabilizing the ground soil, improving our water quality, absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, and beautifying the environment.

So, as you can see, pollinators are vital for the reproductive life cycle of plants, by transferring pollen between the female and male parts of flowers, which helps create seeds and thus new plants!  On today’s blog, we’re covering some unique ways pollinators show up for us here in New Jersey, and how we can help them do their job right from our own homes.

Gardening with Native New Jersey Plants to Assist Pollinators

Native plants are not only beneficial to the environment, but are also a beautiful way to celebrate and appreciate our great Garden State!  Native flowers you may consider planting as part of a pollinator garden include daisies, zinnias, sunflowers, goldenrod, columbine flowers, rhododendrons, beebalm, bush honeysuckle, common milkweed, and mountain laurel just to name a few.

There are several things you can do to ensure pollinators find your garden easily. When these native plants are grouped in a formation of three or more, it significantly helps the pollinators to find them.  Diversifying the type of plants you select from bulbs to bareroot to established plants and even seeds can be helpful as well.  Additionally, we recommend avoiding landscaping fabric and black mulch, and allowing bare dirt in some sections to help for the ground-dwelling and nesting bees who utilize soil for their home.  It’s also recommended to limit the use of pesticides and herbicides which can harm local pollinators.  To help encourage pollinators to stay in the area, and protect them from environmental dangers and predators, you will want to also add shelters and additional feeding sources; humminbird feeders, bird feeders, bird houses, bee and bat houses are a few good options.  When planting edible crops, consider researching their “co-planting” recommendations to increase yield.

The Native Plant Channel on YouTube has this wonderful video all about Native Plants in several New Jersey Gardens:

DIY Carpentry Projects and Handcrafts to Encourage Pollinators to Visit Your Garden

Not only do pollinator habitats help our environment, but they’re also very fun to make as a family project and they look wonderful in your home garden.  You may even want to consider donating some to your local library or local park to help beautify the neighbourhood!

Bat Houses are a wonderful way to encourage these natural mammalian pollinators to visit your garden, but it is also helpful in that the bats will eat pesky insects in your outdoor spaces. It’s a two-in-one benefit!  Bat houses should generally be placed in an area which receives a lot of natural sunlight, are mounted on a pole at least 15 feet off the ground to prevent predators, and also placed near a water source.  Avoid placing them near trees, which bats generally avoid due to natural predators, branches which cause flying obstructions, and too much shade.  However, evne if conditions are not ideal, it’s still better to place a bathouse in your yard than not.  The Bat Conservation International organization has a fantastic build plan for creating a simple bat-house, backed by plenty of studies and research! They have designed a safe and functional habitat which you can access by visiting here.

Butterfly houses are an incredible way to encourage flying insects such as butterflies and moths to visit your garden. Creating a special shelter that mimics the appearance of split tree bark can help them stay safe from predators and dangerous weather conditions.  This project is perfect for the experienced woodworker, as you’ll need some special tools to create the cuts and shapes in the shelter box.  It’s also a fantastic way to flex your creative skills by decorating it with your personal finishing touches, especially if you use shades of yellow, red, orange, pink and purple, all colors which attract adult butterflies best! You can also purchase a caterpillar raising kit from various sources online, and release them into your curated pollinator garden when they’re ready to go. We love this step-by-step guide from the Family Handyman blog for a budget-friendly beginner woodworking butterfly house project.

We also love this DIY Butterfly Puddling Station to attract butterflies to your flower garden from My Maine Gardens on YouTube:

With more than 300 different species of bees in New Jersey, it’s important we encourage their safety and wellbeing by not only planting native plants and flowers, but also adding habitats for the species that do not cohabitate in hives.  Creating a bee hotel can encourage these varieties of bees to take up residence in your DIY woodworking craft instead of holes in your decking, house, shed, or other household structure.  You can craft several kinds of bee house structures using scrap wood or even recycled household objects like the can from tinned foods.  This tutorial from has a wonderful step-by-step guide with visuals to create a simple bee house using leftover timber.  And offers directions for this crafty upcycled version of a bee hotel from a can that also has options for personalization and charming decoration, making it perfect for children and families to do together.

If you’d like to encourage birds to visit your pollinator garden, you can check out these 5 options for DIY homemade hummingbird feeders from Bill Rosener on YouTube:

You may also like this thrifty option for a bird bath/bird drinking station with simple crafting supplies and budget-friendly materials from Lori Blye DIY on YouTube:

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