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The disappearing pollinator population is a phenomenon that affects our ecosystem in a huge way. Many know that the dwindling population is a problem, but few realize that gardeners can help pollinators in a BIG way, simply by planting a garden!
There are a variety of different pollinators: bees (including honeybees), butterflies, moths, and several species of flies and beetles. These important species move pollen from a male flower to a female flower, eventually resulting in fertilization. Many plants require this fertilization to reproduce and grow, meaning pollinators are essential to the stability of our ecosystem.
There are too many to name, but many of our most popular crops need bees and other pollinators to grow and produce. A recent study showed that at least 80% of the world's crop species require pollination to set seed, including: kiwifruit, cashews, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, gourds, zucchini, passion fruit, cocoa, vanilla and many, many more.
In the most recent decades, many pollinator populations are considered to be in decline and some (such as several varieties of bees) are even in danger of extinction. This is not only devastating for the fact that we are losing an entire species from our planet, but this could bring forth dire circumstances for global food webs and human health.
One of the best ways gardeners can help pollinators is by planting a garden. This helps create a larger diversity of nectar and pollen sources. Putting pollinator-friendly plants together in one area helps to make their work a little easier, consequently reducing stress.
If you are planting a formal perennial garden, try to group a dense amount of plants in close proximity to one another, all with different shapes, colors and bloom times. This helps to attract a variety of pollinators all season long. It is also important to try to grow plants that are native to your area. Several varieties that are especially attractive to pollinators are penstemon, foxglove, peonies, black eyed susans, echinacea, sunflowers, bee balm and more.
Watch Louie Schwartzberg's Ted Talk The Hidden Beauty of Pollination:
Looking to help but don't have the time to design a formal garden? We've put together several Wildflower Mixtures to help pollinators. Each mixture is designed with a variety of Wildflowers that are all different colors, shapes and bloom all season long, to attract a wide variety of pollinators to your garden. Try our Honey Bee Wildflower Seed Mix, Beneficial Bug Seed Mix, Hummingbird & Butterfly Seed Mix, or plant a native mixture for your area.
Planting for pollinators can help benefit their depleting population and add extra color to your landscaping. If every gardener decided to plant their own "pollinator garden," we could really help make a difference for the disappearing population.
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