Walmart’s pollinator gardens are adding color to store grounds in the Pacific Northwest while keeping bee and butterfly populations healthy.

Walmart’s pollinator gardens are adding color to store grounds in the Pacific Northwest while keeping bee and butterfly populations healthy.

Smokey Point Walmart chosen for pollinator garden pilot project

ARLINGTON – The Smokey Point Walmart store was chosen by the company to join in a pollinator garden pilot project that will beautify the grounds while keeping local bee and threatened butterfly populations healthy.

The Smokey Point Walmart created the garden in early May, and planted it with various perennials and annuals.

Wendy Widener, a member of Walmart’s environmental, health and safety compliance team, said, “These flower gardens enhance our landscaping and serve as an important habitat for the birds and insects that play a vital role in plant, vegetable and fruit reproduction.”

Widener in August stopped by the store, which is close to completing a planned expansion in a few weeks. “We saw a lot visitors to the garden, a lot of butterflies and bees, and customers were parking nearby to eat their lunch,” she said.

A goal of the pollinator garden program is to inspire customers and communities to take action in their own back yards. She said planting blooming flowers, especially native species, is a great way to help conserve bees and other pollinators like butterflies.

“It’s a good thing for the community,” Widener said. “It’s easy to put these gardens in.”

While the Smokey Point store’s pollinator garden north of the main entrance over in the stormwater pond area wasn’t the prettiest garden among stores due to an extra-dry August, customers liked the idea, she said.

The company plans to evaluate how the gardens tough it out after the growing season is done, and make adjustments.

“We’re going to keep the garden in Arlington, but going to do things a little differently next year,” Widener said.

The retailer has planted milkweed in some of its gardens, which monarch butterflies use for shelter, food and laying eggs. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the population of monarch butterflies has dropped 90% in the past 20 years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering adding the butterfly to its list of endangered and threatened species.

The monarch butterfly population west of the Rockies and found mostly in California has declined since the 1990s. It remains low, but has leveled off some in the past two years, according to the Xerces Society, a pollinator conservation nonprofit group that creates habitat for bees, butterflies and beneficial insects.

Walmart planted 21 pollinator gardens at retail stores in Washington, Oregon, North Carolina and the company headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Walmart got positive responses from customers and associates to expand the project to more stores, Widener said. Pollinator gardens are located in 15 cities statewide including Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Lakewood, Port Orchard, Sequim and several Walmarts in Eastern Washington. The pilot launched in April 2019 when the first garden was planted in Garner, N.C.

More in News

Lions Clubs ‘Give Big for Health’ White Cane Days on Giving Tuesday

Undeterred by COVID, clubs fundraise online for vision, hearing and health screening programs

Inslee: Stay home for 2 weeks

By Jerry Cornfield and Zachariah Bryan The Herald OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay… Continue reading

Fences have been put up around Marysville playgrounds to keep kids off. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville leaders concerned as (almost) everything’s closing

By Steve Powell MARYSVILLE – Within hours of Gov. Jay Inslee’s… Continue reading


Beware of coronavirus scams SEATTLE – U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran is… Continue reading

Jennifer Thompson, left, and her father Ron Thompson secure a new remembrance plaque to the Oso slide site gate on Sunday, near Oso. Ron Thompson handcrafts a new plaque for the gate every year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Community remembers Oso slide victims, survivors

By Ben Watanabe The Herald OSO — The power of remembering the… Continue reading

People gather to pick up special allergy meals before leaving Lakewood High School on Wednesday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Districts taking meals to students since schools are closed

By Stephanie Davey The Herald LAKEWOOD — Children wearing pajamas stood outside… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Letter about coronavirus from Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring

This is an edited version of a letter Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Marysville leaders’ trip to D.C. productive

MARYSVILLE – City leaders recently obtained advice on how to get more… Continue reading

City Council works toward financing new Fire Station 48

ARLINGTON – The city signed an agreement with Sterling Bank to negotiate… Continue reading

DOUGLAS BUell/Staff Photos                                Lead cook Keina Gowins with Presidents Elementary hands out free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to students and parents outside the school Wednesday. Presidents and AHS serve as central kitchen sites for preparing meals, which starting next week will expand to 12 delivery sites from Silvana to Oso. Right, Arlington Food Bank executive director Carla Gastineau and Mike Simpson, food bank board president and owner of Arlington Grocery Outlet, partnered with the district with their Meals Til Monday program, and gave a woman a box of donated food while at Presidents.
Arlington students won’t go hungry during the COVID-19 school closures

ARLINGTON – Arlington schools are closed through April 24 to help fight… Continue reading

City of Arlington carries out operational changes to encourage social distancing
City of Arlington carries out operational changes to encourage social distancing

ARLINGTON – The city has made a series of operational changes in… Continue reading