Saturday, January 14, 2012

The importance of Pollination.

Just a little info about pollination and how humans rely on it for food.
Pollination is important to our very existence. Without pollination, we haven't food. That means no beer or chocolate people! But seriously, we do need the pollinators to exist.
If you want to help mankind, you can plant flowers and plants to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and the best plants to accomplish this goal are nectar producing plants. There are many good resources on the internet that can provide you the information you need to know what kinds of plants to grow in your area.

Here are a few tips.

Your growing zone is key to determining what plants will grow well. BUT you also need to consider local soil type, growing conditions, etc. Visiting a local nursery will give you a good start on what grows well in your area. You can purchase plants there, or purchase seeds and grow your garden from scratch. This is what we plan on doing this Spring. We've moved to a new area, an old house but there's lots of room for gardening. We are considering container gardening as it seems easier :P

Now, what kinds of plants attract pollinators? Bees especially like legume plant blossoms like clover but will collect any pollen they can find. To attract bees, other plants to consider are, fireweed, monkshood (WARNING: this plant is poisonous), red clover, asters, goldenrod, foxglove, germander, Joe pye weed, sedum Autumn joy, oregano, thyme, globe-thistle, hyssop, lavender, chives, penstemons, rosemary, and of course, sunflowers.
Pollinators also included hummingbirds and butterflies, so don't forget those feeders. Yes, there is such a thing as a butterfly feeder! Go the extra step and hang houses for birds, bees, and butterflies too.

To attract butterflies, choose a variety of plants so that flowers are always blooming. If you only plant flowers that bloom at the same time, the butterflies will leave when those flowers die. Butterflies like color so remember that too.
Flowers that attract butterflies include, day lily, iris, lavender, Asters, Butterfly bush, Heliotrope, Cosmos, Clover, Zinnia. As you can see, many of the flowers that attract butterflies also attract bees. Remember to use lots of color.

Ever considered creating a nesting site for bees? Farmers do it. Some of the non-stinging bees, like the Mason bee are inhabitants of gardens that provide nesting sites. They need these sites in order to reproduce. Alfalfa farmers, for example, set up nesting sites for leaf-cutter bees because they are the main pollinators in their fields. Large orchards usually set up bee hives to pollinate their crops during the blooming season. If you are interested in setting up a nesting site, you can find a Mason bee lodge at our shop, or you can make one, they're easy. All you need is a block of wood and a drill. There are instructions online for the varying kinds of bee lodges and houses.

Now that you have your information on what kinds of flowers to plant and what kind of nesting area to create (if you choose to) you are ready to get out there and get the seeds you need before Spring arrives. If you aren't into seeding plants, visit your local nursery in the Spring to purchase budding plants.

Good luck! And remember, by feeding and sheltering the pollinators, you are helping to feed the world.

Please visit for your birding, bee, and butterfly needs.

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