About mid March I cut down the perennials in my garden – leaving them up in winter provides habitat for wildlife, attracts more snow to insulate and hydrate soil, and boy it just looks so darn cool. When I’m removing last year’s perennial growth I gather hollow-stemmed plants like joe pye weed and cut the stalks into about 6” lengths. I then make a bundle and tie to fences around my garden.
The bundles attract native, solitary bees and other beneficial pollinators as nesting sites. Click to Tweet!
For example, blue mason bees lay eggs over summer making several cells in each joe pye tube; the bees place one egg and food in each cell, seal them off, and in fall the larvae emerge and overwinter inside.
In spring they come out as fully-fledged adults, some of the earliest insects in the garden, ready to pollinate plants like viburnum that will go on to set berries that birds adore. Native bees are docile and very hesitant to sting, plus they’re often far more efficient pollinators than non natives like honeybees. So don’t compost those hollow stems – support beneficial pollinators!