Attract Pollinators to your Garden

One garden alone can't save the bees, birds and butterflies, but if each of us plants just a few herbs pollinators love, what a difference we could make.

| June/July 2011

Among the many joys of herb gardening is the chance to observe the abundance of wildlife that visit—the industrious bee, the fleeting butterfly, hovering hummingbirds and more. Of course there are other, less-welcome visitors—the hungry rabbit or mischievous raccoon—but still, most of us would agree that a garden without wildlife seems static and even sterile.

While seeking food, water, shelter and nesting sites in and around our herb gardens, many of these animals and insects are also engaging in the valuable mechanism of pollination. Plants and their pollinators have co-evolved to acquire physical traits that attract one another in a mutual relationship, making sure pollen is carried from one flower to another. In addition, the flowering cycles of the plants have evolved to be closely aligned with the life cycles and needs of their pollinators. Together these characteristics form what is called a pollination syndrome. Using knowledge of these syndromes, herb gardeners can learn to attract and increase pollinator numbers, making for a healthier and livelier landscape.

The Facts of Life: Fertilizing Flowers

Pollination is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma of another flower. When this transfer is successful, fertilization occurs, which leads to seed development and fruit production, thus guaranteeing the plant’s continuing existence.

Eighty percent of all plants rely upon pollination for survival. But more astoundingly, for humans, one out of every three bites of food is made possible by pollination. Without pollination, say goodbye to cabbage and avocados, watermelons and coconut, and more tragically, strawberry shortcake, blueberry cobbler, apple pie, and chocolate anything. Hamburgers also can’t happen without the pollination of alfalfa to feed cattle. As it turns out, pollination hits all of us very close to home.

Pollinators are keystone species, meaning that a large number of other species depends upon them for their existence. Pollinators are also considered an indicator species, with their well-being connected intimately with the bigger picture of overall environmental health. Dramatic declines in pollinator populations are attributed to three main factors: loss and fragmentation of habitat, degradation of remaining habitat, and pesticide poisoning.

There are two types of pollination — biotic and abiotic. Eighty percent of all pollination is biotic, meaning carried out by animals. Abiotic pollination is accomplished by wind or water, the vast majority by wind.
Grasses are an example of plants pollinated by wind; they produce fine grains of pollen in copious quantities to allow for the vagaries of the weather, while at the same time vexing human beings with annoying allergies. Corn and wheat, for instance, are dependent upon the wind for pollination.

5/26/2014 4:50:21 AM

In my opinion, the only thing culprit in the decline of pollinators is excessive use of pesticides. Hence, before undergoing any kind of treatment in the garden it's really important to concern some experts. If you wish to know more visit

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