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May’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Shirley Burdick, who photographed a bumblebee visiting a dahlia.

May’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Shirley Burdick, who photographed a bumblebee visiting a dahlia.

May’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Shirley Burdick, who photographed a bumblebee visiting a dahlia in Massachusetts.

May is an important month here in Massachusetts. Not only do we welcome the warmer, sunnier days that spring has to offer, we also begin to plant and plan our flower and vegetable gardens for the season. The Massachusetts Flower Growers’ Association and Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association,, come together on May 15 to host “Plant Something MA,”  a day for communities to organize a planting event that supports our locally-grown plants and flowers.

Choosing the right plant is an important part of pollination. Native bees and other insect pollinators are an important part of the pollination process and native plants and flowers are the best source of food for bees. Whether you are planting a small back yard flower garden or a large area vegetable garden, use these tips to help guide you along the way.

Choosing the best plants & flowers for pollination:

  • Use local native plants: Consult with a local nursery to identify native plants, which are four times more attractive to native bees than exotic flowers.
  • Choose a variety of flowers: Flowers that are different colors and shapes are attractive to native bees.
  • Plant flowers in groups because they attract more bees than individual plants.
  • Plant a garden: Many garden plants are varieties of native plants and culinary herbs are a perfect supplement to native plants.
  • Choose a wide range of flowering plants throughout the whole growing season.

For more pollinator conservation information, visit Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Each month, we are posting the 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar’s photo of the month. Featuring photos of Bay State farming, the calendar is available for purchase. All photos were taken by amateur photographers who won the annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Proceeds from the $10 calendars benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, a non-profit organization that works with teachers to develop classroom materials. The calendar features a winning photograph each month, as well as interesting facts about local agriculture.

Written By:

DAR Program Coordinator

With a background in the culinary arts, nutrition education and program development, Julia joined The Department of Agricultural Resources Division of Agricultural Markets in 2008 to help spread the word about Massachusetts’ incredible agricultural and culinary opportunities. She also coordinates several grant and marketing programs available to a diversified group of growers and agricultural associations across the Commonwealth. A Boston University graduate, she can be found in her spare time sourcing out the best local products for her next culinary creation or volunteering in the community.

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