Plant now for pollinators this winter

Bee in Marin


Thank you Bonnie Morse of Bonnie Bee and Company for this great new resource:

Plants for pollinators in Marin


Updated July, 2020

COVID-19 version of our 2020 Fall Pollinator “Event”


Due to COVID-19, Marin Ace, Laurel Ace, Oakley Ace, and Antioch Ace nurseries will not hold an annual Pollinator “Event” in 2020; there will be no observation hives, honey stands, or Integrated Pest Management tabling from Our Water Our World. However all four nurseries are stocking up on pollinator-friendly plants for your victory gardens, with plants that will bloom over the winter from which our pollinators can forage! Please consider these pollinator-friendly plants as you garden this fall; these selections are often native and/or drought resistant, and ideal for our pollinators and climate.

“Activities have buzzed around Marin Ace each fall since 2012, ” shared “Mom” Michelle Leopold, “but we know a community gathering is sadly, not the right choice this fall for these unprecedented times.” For six years, volunteers from the Marin Beekeepers Association have joined San Rafael’s mom & pop hardware store annually for their Fall Pollinator Event, with Laurel Ace joining in 2017 and Oakley Ace in 2019. This would have been the first Fall Pollinator event for the new nursery at Antioch Ace. All four stores already have a supply of pollinator friendly, drought tolerant, neonicotinoid-free plants available for blooming and foraging this fall and winter.

Bees and neonicitinoidsMarin Ace started the Fall Pollinator Event to raise awareness of the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids, a systemic insecticide which have been linked to the international bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). All of Marin Ace’s plants are proudly neonic-free, and all pesticides at the store containing neonicotinoids have been labeled “harmful to pollinators.” Marin Ace is also working with Ace Hardware on a national basis to raise awareness of CCD attributed to neonics, with outreach planned throughout all of the 5,000 locally-owned stores in the US.

Marin Ace is locally owned by Marin residents Michelle and Jeff Leopold, the “Mom & Pop” behind the old-fashioned hardware store, which opened in 2011 at the former Sizzler location at 180 Merrydale Road. Their other five stores’ plant selections are committed to being neonic-free, with larger nurseries available at Laurel Ace-Oakland, Oakley Ace, and Antioch Ace.

Why Help Pollinators?

Bees & Neonicitinoids“Mom” Michelle Leopold saw a screening of the Queen of the Sun documentary at 142 Throckmorton in Mill Valley in 2012, and was immediately moved to action in stopping the use of neonicotinoids at her stores. As the owner of two local Ace Hardware stores in the SF Bay Area at the time, Michelle knew she could make a difference, and immediately made sure that the plants that they were selling were neonic-free (they were). Since then, she has labeled the pesticides containing neonics “harmful to pollinators” and continues to work closely with the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program’s (MCSTOPPP) Our Water Our World program. She has also worked with the national buyers at Ace Hardware’s corporate office in raising awareness throughout the 5,000+ locally-owned Ace Hardware stores, of the harmfulness of neonics to pollinators.

Michelle was delighted when the national plant vendor for the Ace co-op changed in 2014 to neonic-free plants — a switch other “big box” stores had not yet been able to make. As a leader of Ace stores’ move away from neonicotinoids, Michelle’s actions at Marin Ace were cited in the 5/15 article when Ace Hardware announced that they would move away from products and plants containing neonics.

Marin Ace’s commitment to bees and other pollinators was featured in the cover story of the 2017 Hardware Retailing Magazine’s story “What does it mean to be green?” Read more about how Michelle and Jeff Promote an Earth-Friendly Oasis for Birds, Bees, Pets and People”

Laurel Ace and Oakley Ace now part of our Annual Fall Pollinator Events

Miguel Lisa Fall Pollinator Oakland 2018

Starting in 2017, Laurel Ace began holding a Fall Pollinator Event. Our Laurel District neighbors in Oakland loved having Lisa R from Alameda County Clean Water Program/Our Water Our World, and Ronni and Pam from the Alameda County Beekeepers Association brought their Observation Hive and delicious local honey. 20% of all live goods sold during the Oakland Fall Pollinator Weekends were donated to Oakland’s Pollinator Posse. 2017 Press Release here

Oakley Ace joined the buzz in 2019 with their first Fall Pollinator Event, with Integrated Pest Management tabling by Our Water Our World. Oakley Ace donated profits of 20% of their event’s live goods sold to local pollinator efforts in 2019.

We believe in eco-friendly garden products!

We’ve added in many products that we–and our customers–know are better for the earth, our pollinators, our pets, our children, and our plants. From insecticides and rodenticides, fertilizers and plant food, we carry many great products including these from Safer (including diatomaceous earth), Fresh Cab, Orange Guard, Terro, Why, Rescue, Sluggo, EB Stone, Black Gold, Dr. Earth, Alaska, EcoSmart, EarthKind, and Bonide.

Marin Ace’s 4th Annual Fall Pollinator Event – 2017:

Fall Pollinator Event 10/14-15

In 2017, Marin Ace encourages everyone to have plants in your garden every fall and winter that bees and other pollinators can forage over the winter.

Due to that week’s devastating fires in the North Bay, on  Friday 10/13/17: Marin Ace announced they would double-match the donation from the 2017 Fall Pollinator Event – another 20% of proceeds from the weekend’s live goods sales will be donated in plants and supplies to replenish bee habitats after the Northern California Fires. Everyone involved in the planning of this year’s pollinator event was so sorry to hear that at least 12 beekeepers lost everything in the fires – including their bees.

Special events in 2017 included:

  • Observation Hive and Marin Beekeepers Q&A
  • Kids’ Pollen Collecting Activity
  • Integrated Pest Management Table with Our Water Our World

Local beekeepers were on hand to give great advice about ways you can help our pollinators and have a healthy garden for everyone. Thanks for helping our pollinators! We wouldn’t BEE here without them!

We were delighted to partner with the Marin Beekeepers Association for our fourth annual Fall Pollinator Event in 2017, and 20% of all plants and seeds purchased that weekend were donated to the Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund.

Annie's Annuals LogoTHANK YOU Annie’s Annuals for coming to the rescue of our Pollinator Event!

We were saddened to hear of the fires surrounding our plant provider Blooms in Glen Ellen, and they were not able to ship our order for the Fall Pollinator Event. Annie’s stepped in, (we were hoping to add their unusual & heirloom plants to our mix anyways!) and we are now delighted to offer a fabulous selection of neonic-free, pollinator-friendly plants from Annie’s Annuals at Marin Ace.


Blooms logo

Our heartfelt support goes out to the team at Blooms, and all the other businesses and individuals dramatically affected by the NorCal Fires.

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