Pollination power in the garden

Attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and mason bees to your garden because they're excellent pollinators.

Courtesy of Helen Yoest
Butterflies, which are good pollinators, enjoy flat-topped flowers that provide good landing spots for them.
iStock photo
Hummingbirds are attracted to pollen-rich flowers, such as hibiscus, that have trumpet shapes.

It’s easy to forget the power of a pollinator.  For most of us, more time is spent admiring pollinators in our gardens than giving thought to the fact that pollination is required to produce seeds and fruits in up to 80% of the world’s flowering plants.

Nature has her way, though, to interest us in attracting pollinators, although our reasons may be different. Nature’s reason is to pollinate.  Most gardeners' reason is to bring the birds, bees, and butterflies into the garden for movement, amusement, and interest. 

Either way, nature wins. With each visit, pollination occurs.

Butterflies, hummingbirds, and mason bees

I’m most amused by hummingbirds, butterflies, and mason bees.  Nectar-rich flowering plants are grown in abundance for butterflies to flit from flower to flower, for bees to bumble around with random grace, and for hummingbirds to insert their tongues deep into the throat of a trumpet-shaped flower.

The Southeast is the summer home of the ruby-throated hummingbird. Hummingbirds are welcome visitors to my garden. From the time their spring migration brings them to my area, until the fall, when they’ll tank up on nectar for the long journey home, hummingbirds will find plenty of trumpet-shaped flowers to give them what they need.

Attracting butterflies to my garden -- and keeping them there -- is a natural for me, whether they're big or small, multicolored or not; from the majestic swallowtails down to the little skippers.  My garden includes a variety of flat-faced flowers to serve as a landing pad for the butterflies to alight.

 Orchard mason bees (Osmia lignaria ssp.) are an important pollinator of our spring fruit trees, flowers, and vegetables.  These bees nest within hollow stems, woodpecker drillings, and other holes found in trees. Nests for these bees are easy to make, as well. Mason bees are not aggressive and can be watched closely without fear of being stung.

Attracting pollinators is simple

All it takes is adding nectar-rich flowers to your garden, and you will attract wildlife bringing you the power of pollination.

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Helen Yoest lives in North Carolina and writes about Gardening With Confidence. She's a garden writer, speaker, and garden coach. She's also a field editor for Better Homes and Gardens and Country Gardens magazines and serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum. You can follow Helen on Twitter and Facebook. To read more by Helen here at Diggin' It, click here.

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