New Online Tool Helps you Choose Pollinator-Friendly Plants for your Window Garden
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New Online Tool Helps you Choose Pollinator-Friendly Plants for your Window Garden

March 28, 2016

If you've got a bit of a green thumb and a love for pollinators, a new, free online tool can help you find the perfect plants for a bee-friendly window box.

The window box tool on the redesigned People's Garden Initiative website uses zip codes to help gardeners determine which plants will provide the best pollinator forage. The site allows visitors to print out a list that they can bring to their local garden store.

Without pollinators, like bees and butterflies, many of the world's flowering plants would have a tough time surviving. Many of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts we enjoy are dependent on these birds and insects for pollination, because without it these foods won't grow.

"Gardens provide a positive setting for pollinators such as bats, bees, birds, butterflies, beetles, and other animals that contribute substantially to the U.S. economy and play a vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a proclamation designating April as National Garden Month.

Native plants are especially important to maintain an appropriate ecosystem. Previous studies on monarch butterflies found that when gardeners planted tropical varieties of milkweed, the butterflies delayed their migration, leading to death and disease. It's important to choose the right plants for your area.

If you don't have the time, space or energy for a large garden, you can still plant a pollinator-friendly window box garden. These small gardens help pollinators by ensuring they don't have to fly too far to find food and provide your windows with a bit of color. You'll be able to enjoy visitors like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds from the comfort of your kitchen table.

The website also features an interactive map of more than 2,100 People's Gardens planted since 2009 and resources for casual gardeners and those who are creating larger community gardens.