Pollinator Plants

Pollinator Plants are now available at the farm and will continue to be until the end of September, though some species do sell out quickly.

From Memorial Day weekend to about July 4th, we just have room in the greenhouses for 1 tray of each species.  After the 4th of July, we bring all of the pollinator plants to the greenhouse attached to the farm stand, which makes for nice shopping!!


 Check out our web-based enterprise and to see our plant list.

Northeast Pollinator Plants


 http://www.northeastpollinator.com is a web-based regional storefront offering pollinator perennials to the New England and New York states with deliveries June through September.  While spreading the word about pollinator gardens in talks throughout the region, Jane was often stumped for an answer when folks would ask, “where can we get these plants?”.  After some reflection, she decided, well someone has to do this.  Hopefully there will be many local native plant nurseries springing up in our region, until then, we’re happy to fill the niche.

Getting Pollinator Plants at River Berry Farm

Meanwhile, we continue to sell plants for pollinators at our farm in Fairfax, VT, from early June to end of September.  If you’re particularly interested in chatting with Jane about pollinator gardens, habitat enhancement, selecting plants for your situation or having her give a talk in your community, shoot her an email to set up a good time to meet at the farm: riverberryfarm@gmail.com.


Populations of pollinators like native bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, beetles and hummingbirds and the non-native European honeybee are in decline. Researchers are studying the causes and determining pesticides with fragmentation and loss of habitat are the prime suspects.  Much more research is needed to verify the losses and causes.

We’re lucky in Vermont that we still have lots of good habitat, but we need to be diligent to not lose what we have as more land becomes developed.

Meanwhile we can all pitch in to help.  With more of the land being domesticated, it is up to us domesticators to plant the right stuff and help support these critical pollinators.

Jane is passionate about garden design for enhancing pollinator habitat and is determined to help gardeners make plant and design choices by providing information and plants at River Berry Farm.

Some Pollinator Garden Guidelines:

FOOD:  An ideal pollinator garden would include at least nine native flowering perennial species; selecting three species that flower early, three mid and three late plus some native grasses for nesting.  It is best to plant in large swaths of at least six of each species for efficient foraging.  Add native trees and shrubs to extend the flowering times.  View our nifty spreadsheets below for a partial list of great plants for pollinators for our eco-region.

SHELTER:  Leave some nearby bare loose, undisturbed soil for ground nesters and nice pithy or hollow stemmed shrubs like elderberry, sumac or raspberries for wood/cavity nesters.  Add human-made nesting boxes only if you will be diligent about maintaining these, cleaning thoroughly yearly to avoid adding more disease issues for our already stressed pollinators.  And finally, leave the leaves as leaf litter is prime overwintering habitat for many pollinators including most bumblebees and fallen, decaying leaves are important natural fertilizer that we rob from the ecosystem when we rake them up.

WATER:  Ensure access to clean shallow water by planting some cup-shaped leave plants or carefully maintaining a shallow bird bath.  No chlorinated water please.

Pollinator Plants  (we do not offer all these plants but do offer many of the perennials from the first two pages).

The following charts shows some of the pollinator plants by type,  mostly native to Vermont, listed in order of flowering time so you can ensure you have at least three species flowering at a time.  Many of these, excluding the trees, are available at River Berry Farm,  though our selection changes yearly.


Resources for Pollinator Habitat Enhancement

Jane Sorensen, River Berry Farm     JaneThyraSorensen@gmail.com

Selecting Plants:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center    http://www.wildflower.org/
go to tab “Explore Plants”, scroll to “Recommended Species”, scroll down page to “Value to Beneficial Insects”, bees and bumblebee filters created by Xerces, and can filter for native plants by State and site conditions
Pollinator Partnership, Planting Guides by Ecoregions.  http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm.
NRCS Plant Materials http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/nypmctn11164.pdf.


Checking Native Status:
Biota of North America – North America Plant Atlas   BONAP-NAPA
Note:  If use the county level maps, the dark green color is used as fill-in for the rest of the state when some counties are given a color, and is essentially meaningless.  The counties colored teal are where the plant is native, yellow means native but rare.

Refining Your Plant List:
William Cullina’s Wildflowers:  A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Flowers of North America.,2000.
Henk Gerritson and Piet Oudolf’s Dream Plants for the Natural Garden,, 1999.
Heather Holm’s Pollinators of Native Plants, 2014.
Missouri Botanical Garden – Plant Finder


Sourcing Seeds:
Wild Seed Project, ME  http://wildseedproject.net
Praire Moon Nursery, MN, https://www.prairiemoon.com
Ernst Seeds, Meadville, PA  http://www.ernstseed.com/.
Jelitto Seeds, in, not-so-local Germany,  http://jelitto.com/
Pierson Nurseries, Inc., Biddeford, ME http://www.piersonnurseries.com/


Sourcing Plants:
The Farm Between, Jeffersonville, VT, trees and shrubs, http://www.thefarmbetween.com/nursery/
River Berry Farm, Fairfax, VT, native perennials, grasses, some shrubs, http://www.riverberryfarm.com/pollinator-plants-at-river-berry-farm/
Northeast Pollinator Plants, on-line/mail order to New England/NY States, Fairfax, VT
North Creek Nurseries, Landenberg, PA  http://www.northcreeknurseries.com/
Van Berkum, Deerfield, NH,  .http://www.vanberkumnursery.com/


Becoming  an Informed Advocate

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-conservation/
Pollinator Partnership:  http://www.pollinator.org/
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.
National Academy of Sciences., Status of Pollinators in North America, 2007, can download, pdf.  http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11761
Natural Resource Conservation Service, NRCS.  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/plantsanimals/pollinate/


Resources for Pollinator Habitat Enhancement                      

Grass Roots Individuals
Beatriz Moisset  http://pollinators.blogspot.com/
Carole S. Brown and others http://nativeplantwildlifegarden.com/
Heather Holm  http://www.restoringthelandscape.com/
Ellen Sousa  http://blog.thbfarm.com/


Penn. State, Center for Pollinator Research.  http://ento.psu.edu/pollinators
Rutgers U., Rachael Winfree., http://winfreelab.rutgers.edu/
Managed Pollinator Coordinated Agricultural Project:  15 Universities and the USDA-NRCS.
UVM, Annie White,  http://pollinatorgardens.org/
UVM, Taylor Ricketts, Gund Institute, http://www.uvm.edu/rsenr/taylorricketts/
Cornell’s Wild Pollinator Research.,  http://entomology.cals.cornell.edu/extension/wild-pollinators
U. ME, Frank Drummond., http://www.extension.org/pages/70094/frank-drummond-the-university-of-maine#.UxLkTEvH3cM
Lois Berg Stack.  http://umaine.edu/pse/faculty-directory/berg-stack/


Native Plant Growers
North Creek Nurseries, Landenberg, PA.  http://www.northcreeknurseries.com/
Van Berkum Nurseries, Deerfield, NH.  .http://www.vanberkumnursery.com/
Found Well Farm, Pembroke, NH., http://www.foundwellfarm.com/
Native Haunts, Alfred, ME.  http://www.nativehaunts.com/aboutus.html
Pierson Nurseries, Dayton, ME.  http://www.piersonnurseries.com/
The Farm Between, Jeffersonville, VT., http://www.thefarmbetween.com/
River Berry Farm, Fairfax, VT, http://www.riverberryfarm.com/pollinator-plants-at-river-berry-farm/


Attracting Native Pollinators, by The Xerces Society, 2011.
Pollinators of Native Plants, by Heather Holm, 2014.
The Forgotten Pollinators, by Stephen Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan, 1996.
Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas Tallamy, 2007.
Wildflowers, by William Cullina, 2000.
Native Plants of the Northeast, by Donald Leopold, 2005.
Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East, by Carolyn Summers, 2010.
The Green Garden, by Ellen Sousa, 2011.
Meadows, by Catherine Zimmerman, 2010.
Beautiful No-Mow Yards, by Evelyn Hadden, 2012.
Dream Plans for the Natural Garden, by Henk Gerritsen and Piet Oudolf., 1999




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