photo credit: left hand
Sometimes we consider certain insects and animals in the garden to be pests, like that pesky gopher rooting up our tomatoes and the cabbage worms on our cabbages. Not only is the garden a place for plant growth, but it’s a gathering place for insects and animals eager to enjoy our Creator’s bounty.
There are a vast diversity of pollinators that occupy our backyard, 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, bees, flies, wasps, as well as other unusual animals. Wind and water also play a role in the pollination of many plants.
Why are they 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 S8100 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. I would love to have better photography skills to show you how they land and then dive deep into the long tube of the trumpet vine to sip.
One told me the nectar is divine
What a joy to sit in the nearby shade and watch the activity of those God brought into being with a Word!
It is not hard to see why at a distance many people mistake this moth for a small hummingbird as it hovers, sipping nectar through a long feeding tube or proboscis.
Be thinking of the plants you can add to your yard this fall that will bring the beauty and benefits of pollinators to your home and garden.
I have listed a few of the hardier ones for you: Butterfly Bush, Agastache (anise hyssop), Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, Russian Sage, Caryopteris, Honeysuckle, Sunflower, Elderberry, many of the herbs in flower, Zinnia (annual), Redbud, Lupine, Dogwood, Lilac. Other plants that pollinators enjoy: Basil, Borage, Cosmos, Hyssop, Lavender, Marjoram, Mexican sunflower (Tithonia), and Mint. 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.
“As busie as a Bee.” ~John Lyly (Lylie or Lyllie), 1554
“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
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.