Gardener Resources | Celebrating Nebraska Pollinators

Explore resources for creating pollinator-friendly gardens at your home

Planting for Pollinators

Entomologist Sheldon Brummel from the UNL Bee Lab takes you on a tour of a pollinator-friendly garden and how to select plants that will allow bees to thrive.

Book Recommendations

Learn more about native plants & pollinators with recommendations from Nebraska Game & Parks and the UNL Bee Lab.

Native Plants & Gardening

  • 100 Plants to Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Thrive by Eric Lee- Mäder, Jarrod Fowler, Jillian Vento, and Jennifer Hopwood
    ISBN-13: 978-1612127019
    The international bee crisis is threatening our global food supply, but this user-friendly field guide shows what you can do to help protect our pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation offers browsable profiles of 100 common flowers, herbs, shrubs, and trees that support bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. The recommendations are simple: pick the right plants for pollinators, protect them from pesticides, and provide abundant blooms throughout the growing season by mixing perennials with herbs and annuals!
  • Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy
    ISBN-13: 9780881929928
    Everyone can welcome more wildlife into their yards just by planting even a few native plants. With fascinating explanations and extensive lists of native plants for regional habitats, this scientifically researched book can help us all to make a difference. No prior training is needed to become a backyard ecologist—but Tallamy's book can be a vital first step.
  • Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants by Christopher Kline
    ISBN-13: 978-1632202888
    Have you ever wanted to draw butterflies to your home, but you haven’t known where to start? Butterfly expert Christopher Kline explains how to use native plants and draw butterflies to your home landscape. He discusses butterfly gardening basics, common butterflies in the garden, garden designs, guide to host plants, native nectar, and sources for native plants. Many detailed illustrations on the garden layout will make building your own garden much easier.
  • Easy Care Native Plants: A Guide to Selecting and Using Beautiful American Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees in Gardens and Landscapes by Patricia A. Taylor
    ISBN-13: 978-0805038613
    This book emphasizes the elegant beauty, rather than the common naturalness, of American flora and by urging gardeners to capture the exquisite essence of its blossoms and foliage in artistic compositions. The book is divided into three sections, each filled with color photographs and containing special lists of plant recommendations from horticultural experts in the United States, Canada and Europe. These suggestions include natives for city patios and decks, shrubs for winter interest, colorful flowers for drought situations and prairie plants for a formal front yard display.
  • Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes by Sally Wasowski
    ISBN-13: 978-0816630875
    Filled with practical advice and detailed information, this indispensable guide to prairie gardening shows readers how to choose space, plan a garden, select plants and flowers, and much more.
  • Go Native! Gardening with Native Plants and Wildflowers in the Lower Midwest by Carolyn Harstad
    ISBN-13: 978-0253213020
    Finally: a guide to gardening with plants native to the lower Midwest! Using a simple Q & A format, this informative and user-friendly book offers advice on planning, site and soil preparation, garden design, plant selection and propagation. Includes 125 illustrations and 100 color photos. A must-have for Midwestern gardeners.
  • The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants by Charlotte Adelman
    ISBN-13: 978-0821419373
    Midwestern gardeners and landscapers are becoming increasingly attracted to noninvasive regional native wildflowers and plants over popular nonnative species. This book offers viable alternatives to both amateurs and professionals, whether they are considering adding a few native plants or intending to go native all the way.
  • Native Plants of the Midwest by Alan Branhagen
    ISBN-13: 9781604695939
    This book features the best native plants in the heartland and offers clear and concise guidance on how to use them in the garden. Plant profiles for more than 500 species of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs and annuals contain the common and botanical names, growing information, tips on using the plant in a landscape, and advice on related plants.
  • Pollination: The Enduring Relationship between Plant and Pollinator by Timothy Walker
    ISBN-13: 978-0691203751
    Pollination is essential to the survival of most plants on Earth. Some plants rely on the wind to transport pollen from one flower to another. Others employ an array of ingenious strategies to attract and exploit pollinators, whether they be insects, birds or mammals. This beautifully illustrated book provides an unprecedented look at the wonders of pollination biology, drawing on the latest science to explain the extraordinarily complex relationship between plant and pollinator, and revealing why pollination is vital for healthy ecosystems and a healthy planet.
  • Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening for Bees, Butterflies, and Other Pollinators by Rhonda Fleming Hayes
    ISBN-13: 978-0760349137
    Pollinators are under threat, and more and more gardeners want to do all they can to create a hospitable space for them. That’s where Pollinator Friendly Gardening comes in. It identifies the most visible and beloved pollinators: bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, as well as some more unlikely candidates such as ants, wasps, and beetles. It then explains the intriguing synergy between plants and pollinators. This vital information makes it a unique sourcebook to share the ways that anyone can make a yard a more friendly place for pollinators.
  • Pollinators of Native Plants by Heather Holm
    ISBN-13: 978-0991356300
    This is the first comprehensive book to illustrate the specific relationships between native pollinators and native plants. Organized by plant communities, the book profiles over 65 perennial native plants of the Midwest, Great Lakes region, Northeast and southern Canada and the pollinators the plants attract.
Bees & Pollinators
  • The Bee: A Natural History by Noah Wilson-Rich
    ISBN-13: 978-0691161358
    Bees pollinate more than 130 fruit, vegetable and seed crops that we rely on to survive. Bees are crucial to the reproduction and diversity of flowering plants, and the economic contributions of these irreplaceable insects measure in the tens of billions of dollars each year. Yet bees are dying at an alarming rate, threatening food supplies and ecosystems around the world. In this richly illustrated natural history of the bee, Noah Wilson-Rich and his team of bee experts provide a window into the vitally important role that bees play in the life of our planet.
  • The Bees in your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees by Joseph Wilson and Olivia J. Messenger Carrill
    ISBN-13: 9780691160771
    This excellent, usable book is geared toward adults; however, it’s a great pictorial reference for kids as well.
  • Bumblebees of North America by Paul H. Williams, Robbin W. Thorp, Leif L. Richardson, and Sheila R. Colla
    ISBN-13: 978-0691152226
    A great field guide to the native bees found across North America.
  • Flight Behavior: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
    ISBN-13: 978-0062124265
    Monarch butterflies are a central character in this novel, upending the lives of several families and the nearby town. Barbara Kingsolver beautifully integrates science into the story without being heavy-handed. A great introduction to monarchs through the eyes of Dellarobia and her personal crisis.
  • The Forgotten Pollinators by Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan; Foreword by Edward O. Wilson
    ISBN-13: 978-1559633536
    An adult non-fiction book focusing on pollination, pollinators and the current state of both.
  • Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly by Sue Halpern
    ISBN-13: 978-0375701948
    An engaging storyteller, Sue Halpern travels far and wide to describe how we’ve come to know what we know about the monarch butterfly and its annual migration. Meet the ground-breaking scientists and early citizen scientists who asked the first questions about monarch butterflies… Where do they go in the fall? How do they find their way there? Why do they taste bad to birds? These and other questions have been answered, some only as recently as the mid-1970s. An excellent read for high school students, too!
  • Mason Bee Revolution: How the Hardest Working Bee can Save the World – One Backyard at a Time by Dave Hunter and Jill Lightner
    ISBN-13: 978-1594859632
    Often overlooked, native bees are currently starting to receive more attention – they’re hardy and often more efficient pollinators than honey bees. Researchers are beginning to look at the mason and leafcutter bees for large-scale pollination.
  • Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them by Paige Embr
    ISBN-13: 978-1604697698
    Honey bees get all the press, but the fascinating story of North America’s native bees—endangered species essential to our ecosystems and food supplies—is just as crucial. Through interviews with farmers, gardeners, scientists and bee experts. "Our Native Bees" explores the importance of native bees and focuses on why they play a key role in gardening and agriculture. The people and stories are compelling: Paige Embry goes on a bee hunt with the world expert on the likely extinct Franklin’s bumblebee, raises blue orchard bees in her refrigerator, and learns about an organization that turns the out-of-play areas in golf courses into pollinator habitats.
  • Pollinators and Pollination: Nature and Society by Jeff Ollerton
    ISBN-13: 978-1784272289
    Written by one of the world’s leading pollination ecologists, this book provides an introduction to what pollinators are, how their interactions with flowers have evolved, and the fundamental ecology of these relationships. It explores the pollination of wild and agricultural plants in a variety of habitats and contexts, including urban, rural and agricultural environments. The author also provides practical advice on how individuals and organizations can study, and support, pollinators.
  • A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees by Dave Goulson
    ISBN-13: 978-1250048370
    A Sting in the Tale is a delightful first-person account of exploring the natural history and behavior of bumblebees by the founder of The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

  • The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden by Kim Flottum
    ISBN-13: 978-1631593321
    This book makes the time-honored and complex tradition of beekeeping an enjoyable and accessible backyard pastime for urban and rural beekeepers of all skill levels.
  • Beginning Beekeeping: Everything You Need to Make Your Hive Thrive! by Tanya Phillips
    ISBN-13: 978-1465454539
    Learn everything you need to know to start your colony with this straightforward, highly visual guide for beginning beekeepers. Featuring more than 120 color photos, Beginning Beekeeping will teach any beginner how to foster and maintain healthy, vibrant colonies. You’ll learn how to set up a colony and attract bees, how to incorporate best practices and techniques for keeping colonies strong, and how to troubleshoot and treat a broad range of common hive issues. Along the way, you’ll learn how to harvest your honey and keep your bees healthy and happy.
  • Honey Bee Hobbyist: The Care and Keeping of Bees by Norman Gary
    ISBN-13: 978-1933958941
    Bee keeping isn't just for the professional farmer—bees can be kept in any situation from the simple backyard patio and garden to large expanses of farm land. This comprehensive and attractive beekeeping guide takes readers from finding their bees, housing them, collecting honey and using their produce for pleasure and possible profit. This colorful book, including entertaining chapters on the history of bees and beekeeping, serves as an extensive introduction to help novice beekeepers fully understand this exciting hobby!
  • Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them by Laurence Packer
    ISBN-13: 978-0062306463
    From the jungles of South America to the deserts of Arizona, one thing remains consistent: bees are disappearing. A world without bees would be much less colourful, with fewer flowers. But that’s not all-bees are responsible for up to one-third of our food supply, and the consequences of not taking action to protect them are frightening. While the media focuses on colony-collapse disorder and the threats to honey bees specifically, the real danger is much greater: all bees are at risk, whether it be from loss of habitat, pesticide use or disease, among other factors. And because of the integral role these insects play in the ecology of our planet, we may be at risk as well. This book debunks many myths about these creatures and takes us behind the scenes with scientists around the world who are working to save these fascinating creatures before it’s too late.
  • Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture by Conrad Ross
    ISBN-13: 978-1603583626
    Whether you are a novice looking to get started with bees, an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an integrated pest-management approach, or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you’ve been waiting for. Ross Conrad brings together the best “do no harm” strategies for keeping honeybees healthy and productive with nontoxic methods of controlling mites; eliminating American foulbrood disease without the use of antibiotics; selective breeding for naturally resistant bees; and many other detailed management techniques, which are covered in a thoughtful, matter-of-fact way.
  • Queenspotting: Meet the Remarkable Queen Bee and Discover the Drama at the Heart of the Hive by Hilary Kearney
    ISBN-13: 978-1635860375
    At the heart of every bee hive is a queen bee. Since her well-being is linked to the well-being of the entire colony, the ability to find her among the residents of the hive is an essential beekeeping skill. In QueenSpotting, experienced beekeeper and professional “swarm catcher” Hilary Kearney challenges readers to “spot the queen” with 48 fold-out visual puzzles — vivid up-close photos of the queen hidden among her many subjects.

Digging Deeper with Backyard Farmer

These special videos from Backyard Farmer go in-depth on pollinators and stingy things!

Pollinators | Kim Todd addresses insect pollinators with Judy Wu-Smart, Nebraska Extension Entomologist and Mary Jane Frogge, Nebraska Extension Horticulturist.

Stingy Things | Nebraska Extension Educator Jody Green talks wasps, bees and all the stingers in between.