There are a vast diversity of pollinators that occupy our backyard, darting and flitting across the flowers, spreading pollen from stamens to pistils, and tasting the sweet nectar. Of those you see, most are decidedly beneficial to us and our gardens.
Animals that assist plants in their reproduction as pollinators include species of ants, beetles, moths, bats, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, honey and other bees, mason bees, flies, wasps, as well as other unusual animals. Wind and water also play a role in the pollination of many plants.
We all should do our share to encourage these pollinators by providing habitat!
Why Are Pollinators Essential?
- At least 90 food crops eaten in North America and about 80% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators.
- Without pollinators we would have a world without apples, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate, almonds, melons, peaches, pumpkins, and many other important food, fiber, and medicinal plants.
- Through their action as pollinators, the honey bee contributes to the production of many billions of dollars worth of crops in America every year.
These are some of the pollinators hanging around our garden that I captured with my little Nikon Cool Pix:
This little hummingbird is spreading ‘gold dust’ as she drinks nectar from Papa’s trumpet vine. They got the name Hummingbird from early colonists because of the buzz of their fast moving wings. It is quite loud, and you can tell when one is approaching.
Once the little hummers got used to me, they relaxed a bit and resumed their feeding and chasing of one another. One told me the nectar is divine.
It is not hard to see why at a distance many people mistake this moth below for a small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar through a long feeding tube or proboscis.
Plants That Bring Pollinators To Your Garden
- Butterfly Bush
- Agastache (anise hyssop)
- Purple Coneflower
- Black-eyed Susan
- Russian Sage
Other plants that pollinators enjoy: Basil, Borage, Cosmos, Hyssop, Lavender, Marjoram, Mexican sunflower (Tithonia), Zinnia (annual), Mint and many of the herbs in flower. And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Research plants for your area.
Add plants that flower at differing times of the year, early spring through late fall. Honeyees feeding in later autumn are storing up honey for the winter and need plentiful sources of nectar.
I want to encourage you to looked closely at what is buzzing and creeping around your garden. It would be sad to miss this beautiful symbiotic form of reproduction. We would do well to take the time to watch for it.
National Geographic’s Photo Gallery posts some incredible photos of ‘Gold Dusters’. They are the earth’s pollinators. And they come in more than 200,000 shapes and sizes.
“O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.”~Psalm 104: 24-25
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Thanks for reading!