Having recently returned from a trip to Europe I would like to share a positive inspiration with our readers...creating a wildflower garden for our most important pollinators, the direct connection between them pollinating our crops and our ability to grow food for our families. This is on my agenda next spring in Australia.
Imagine living in a world without flowers or fruit - or even coffee or chocolate for that matter.
You can provide food and habitat in your backyard, or even windowsill to help pollinators thrive. Every food source and habitat provided can help pollinators rebound from the challenges they face.
When we look carefully of how far humanity has come and how much civilization has progressed, we lean towards giving all the credit to mankind - as a result we may be missing a key contributor. Looking at our ecosystem granularly (small grains called pollen) we will see that it is all about the bees and wasps, moths, butterflies, birds, flies, beetles, even bats.
Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining the habitats and ecosystems that many animals rely on for food and shelter. Somewhere between 75 and 95 per cent of all flowering plants on earth need help with pollination - we NEED the pollinators! Pollinating animals travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies in a vital interaction that allows the transfer of genetic material critical to the reproductive system of most flowering plants, the very plants that bring us countless fruits, vegetables, nuts, half of the world’s oils, fibers and raw materials.
Pollinator populations are changing, many are in decline, which is attributed most severely to a loss through the effects of pesticides, habitat destruction, diseases, parasites and unknown, but deadly circumstances, bees and other pollinators are disappearing at alarming rates. A well known fact - unfortunately - these days. Without them...we are in trouble!
Therefore I was pleased seeing the inspiring trend in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands (where I went on my holiday) to leave areas of lawn or land in private residences, public places, meadows and strips on agricultural pasture for natural wildflower growth.
Because pollinators and plants coevolve, bees, butterflies and other local animals and insects are best suited to flowers and plants that are native to the area. Bees and butterflies are especially drawn to nectar and pollen-rich flowers like wildflowers.
Spring is the time to plant for pollinators - whether in a flower pot, on a patio or in a garden, both annuals and perennials are helpful. If you have space for a bush or two, they are an excellent choice to attract many pollinators and please - do not use chemicals in your wildflower/insect garden.
Go and see your local garden-centre or gardener/landscaper for advise on what is suitable for the area you live in.
Whether a patchwork of pollinator gardens, meadows and parts of agricultural land will be sufficient to support the populations of insects necessary to sustain natural systems and our crops, only time will tell. However, by accepting a little untidiness in our landscapes and by allowing plants to follow their natural life cycles of blooming, seeding and eventually decaying, we provide a place on earth for insects to live and thrive.
Would you like to learn how to grow and care for Geranium?
Find out here: https://happydiyhome.com/geranium/
ELA, 2016 (viewed 07.07.2019)
Pollinator Partnership, 2019 (viewed 07.07.2019)
The Guardian - What to plant in tiny spaces to help bees and butterflies thrive (viewed 07.07.2019)
UNH, 2017 (viewed 07.07.2019)