Lush Cosmetics Reminds Us That 'Pollinators Make It Possible'

The company's latest campaign draws attention to the importance of pollinators.

Lush storefront

Lush Cosmetics

Lush Cosmetics wants the world to know that it is Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2022). The beauty and skin care company emptied all the shelves in its flagship store on Queen Street in Toronto in a dramatic display of what it would look like if pollinators suddenly disappeared from our world. This is part of its weeklong campaign, titled "Pollinators Make It Possible."

Without crucial animals like bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, and more, we would not have many of the ingredients that fill our plates and the products we use on our bodies. In fact, pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food we take and for 100% of the ingredients used in Lush's beauty products.

Pollinators Unstock
Empty shelves at Toronto's Lush store on Queen St.

Lush Cosmetics

Pollinators are in serious trouble, facing threats from shrinking habitats, exposure to harmful chemicals, and a changing climate. Because they are such small, inconspicuous animals, they're often overlooked in discussions about endangerment and extinction. We forget how hard they are working in the background to ensure we have delicious and healthy food to harvest. It's time we paid closer attention and took steps to help out these important animals that give us so much. 

Lorraine Johnson, an expert gardener from Toronto and author of several books on growing native plants and restoring habitat (including the just-published "A Garden for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee"), spoke at the Lush store in Toronto for a workshop on gardening for pollinators. She offered several suggestions for creating pollinator-friendly spaces.

Lorraine Johnson gives a workshop on creating pollinator-friendly gardens
Lorraine Johnson gives a workshop on creating pollinator-friendly gardens.

Lush Cosmetics

Use Native Plants

Native species have evolved special relationships over thousands of years, not only with pollinators but with the soil, weather, and other plants. Many pollinators have specific host plants, and those same plants require specific pollinators in order to reproduce. These are tight, intimate relationships that cannot be replaced. "Insects needs native plants, and native plants need insects," Johnson repeated.

These can be sourced from native plant nurseries, which are a great source of knowledge and expertise. If you're in Canada, check out to get started. It has an interactive map and list of nurseries to visit. 

Strive for Continuous Blooms

Plant so that there's something in flower throughout the entire growing season, from early spring till late fall. Johnson said, "Think about the queen bumblebees who emerge really early, when there's still snow on the ground. But the native trees are blooming, like the willows, which provide really important pollen." Similarly, butterflies need pollen late in the fall when they're preparing to leave for migration; they have to fuel up.

No single plant can provide blooms for the entire time, so you should aim for a diverse array of native plants to achieve this. This will also attract more pollinators, since each has a mouth shape suited to a different style of flower. 

empty shelves in Lush store

Lush Cosmetics

Plant in Clumps

"Native bees have a trait that's called floral constancy," Johnson explained. "They visit the same species of flowers on one foraging trip." So if you can provide 3 to 5 of the same plant species in one location, they won't have to go as far to load up. This gives them more energy to look after their young.

Leave Nesting Material

Around one-third of pollinators nest or overwinter in old plant stalks, "those things that most gardeners cut down and throw out in yard waste bags," Johnson said. "They're throwing away habitat." Same when we rake up dead leaves. "There are butterflies, like the morning cloak butterfly, that overwinters as an adult in those dead leaves." The majority of native bees nest on the ground, not in hives like domesticated honeybees. "Leave the leaves, leave the stalks, leave a little bit of bare ground," Johnson urged.

butterflies pollinate strawberry plants

Lush Cosmetics

Plant Anywhere and Everywhere

It doesn't matter how small a space you have, pollinator-friendly gardens can be created in pots on balconies, on front steps, in tree boxes on a street, on decks, in community gardens, in boulevards and public spaces. 

"Think about being a tiny pollinator, like a bee, and in your short life you'll travel maybe 3 or 5 kilometers, that's it," Johnson said. "We need connected patches of habitat for pollinators to move across the landscape." Ideally, they shouldn't have to go far before finding another food source, which is why even your small efforts can make a big difference for an exhausted little insect.

Plant for the Climate

Planting for pollinators is climate action, Johnson said. With so many us worried about the future of the Earth, and with so many problems that seem enormous and insurmountable, planting a pollinator garden is a practical and manageable thing a person can do to make a difference. "The more resilience we can create and support in the landscape, the better able we [and the pollinators] will be to cope," she explained. This is a project anyone can take on. Schools can bring together science and art classes to create pollinator patches wherever there's some available dirt.

"If you create the habitat, they'll come!" Johnson assured her audience at Lush. She recounted the first time she created a pollinator garden at Bloor and Bathurst, one of Toronto's major commercial intersections, and promptly saw a hummingbird. 

Get Involved

making seed bombs in front of Lush store
Making seed bombs.

Lush Cosmetics

Lush is encouraging everyone to help the pollinators by handing out custom seeded paper that contains a mix of non-invasive plants, including bird's eye, clarkia, black-eyed Susan, catchfly, snapdragon, and Sweet Alyssum. Lush is also hosting seed bomb-making parties in 270 stores across Canada and the U.S. on June 25, starting at noon local time.

Its limited-edition Rose Butterfly Bath Bomb is back, and 100% of proceeds (minus tax) will go toward raising $150,000 for Pollinator Partnership and other organizations working to support pollinators. The bath bomb is available in store and online.

View Article Sources