Mill Pond Garden will welcome visitors from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, August 21, at 31401 Melloy Court, Lewes.
Guests will see abundant featured flowers, as well as butterflies and caterpillars along with hummingbirds and many pollinating insects visiting native host plants like Joe Pye grass, tall phlox, hibiscus, salvia, cardinal flower and more.
Local gardeners can see for themselves what can be done to bring so much beauty together in a Cape Town garden for the success, delight and utmost support of native pollinators.
Tickets, available at millpondgarden.com, cost $15 to admit one vehicle for up to six visitors. For everyone’s safety, visitors are asked to keep a safe social distance from other groups.
The first recommendation for gardeners in the region is to select plants that bloom at different times so that there is a continuous supply of nectar for pollinators and certain host plants for caterpillars throughout the season. Consider planting flowering plants that attract pollinators throughout the growing season, March through December. The types of flowers chosen should be varied to nurture and attract the many types and sizes of pollinators. Some, like parasitic wasps that control garden pests, and tiny bees and flies, need very small, flat flowers like those of many herbs.
Don’t forget that butterflies are not the only pollinators, even if they are among the most beautiful. Bees are much more important in the scheme of nature’s needs for fertilization, fruiting and seed formation. There are over 200 species of bees native to Delaware, and they all need help, along with many different types and sizes of pollinating wasps and flies.
To favor pollinators, especially the smallest ones, it is necessary to let their eggs overwinter in place in the garden. Leave the beds messy until spring. When cleaning flower beds, do not throw away the cut stems of perennials; instead, stack them in corners or along edges so egg cases can hatch to provide continued garden protection from pests.
Consider not spraying insecticides, especially mosquito repellent chemicals that kill good bugs as well as bad ones. Mosquitoes will repopulate quickly, but beneficial insects will not. The most effective mosquito control measures are easier and safer than insecticides, and free. A dry garden has no mosquitoes. Clean up and remove any objects in the garden that trap water, even upside-down bottle caps, and there will be no room for mosquitoes to breed.
Another mosquito control measure is to have some kind of pond. Even a very small pond or barrel of water will attract a frog and support a goldfish or two. Goldfish, frogs, and tadpoles all eat mosquitoes that lay eggs in water. The pond will also attract damselflies and possibly dragonflies which will feed on insects, especially diurnal Asian tiger mosquitoes. If bats can be attracted by installing a bat box, the bats will eat the nocturnal mosquitoes.
The most effective way to control mosquitoes is to combine preventing breeding and providing predators for them around the clock. Let nature provide the balance. Any small water feature will also attract and benefit birds, frogs, salamanders and small wildlife.
Mill Pond Garden is a small holistic botanical garden on beautiful Red Mill Pond. Holistic means that the garden follows the principles of nature not only in creating beauty but also a complete and safe habitat where animals and insects can thrive as abundantly as possible. It includes a stream with ponds for koi carp, frogs and turtles, and several fountains where birds can bathe and drink. The grounds are home to resident squirrels, flying squirrels, raccoons, possums, beavers, otters, foxes, rabbits, harmless snakes and more. It is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.