A beautiful meadow painted with vibrant colors; pinks, purples, yellows, greens, and more. Wildflowers. They astound our vision and busy our cameras; yet how often do we really contemplate their purpose. Sure, we plant gardens adding our favorites like rose bushes and beds of iris'; but even those don’t compare to a field of native flowers in their natural form.
The importance of Wildflowers transcends the full circle of life. In fact, they say that native wildflowers evolved with insects, birds, and animals over thousands of years. So many of our flowers and insect species are interdependent on one another. Insects rely on them as a food source, as do other herbivores like deer, rabbits, mice, and birds. Major pollinators, such as Honey Bees and Monarch Butterflies visit wildflowers for their nectar and pollen; while some use their stems as a site to nest. The flowers act as a host to emerging larvae and small birds rely on these caterpillars and seeds for nourishment. Native Flowers are responsible and vital to a healthy world ecosystem.
There is, however, a problem…
Over 90% of original native plants are now gone; and many insect and bird populations are also vanishing at alarming rates. Wild habitats are continually being destroyed and the heavy use of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides are also playing a role in their demise.
Why should you care?
Do you like food?
One third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees. Without them and other pollinators, we wouldn’t have almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, cashews, cranberries, cucumbers, eggplants, mangoes, grapes, okra, peaches, pears, peppers, kiwis, tangerines, walnuts, strawberries, and COFFEE! In the US alone, honey bees contribute to 15 Billion in crop value. If we care about the existence of these crops and the health of this planet, we all have to make an effort to protect the dwindling populations of pollinators; and it can start in your own backyard.
Grow Wildflowers! Not the usual flowers, but the Native ones that the pollinators need to thrive. They need a wide array, so research what these flowers are in your area. These plants will benefit the environment the most, if planted in their optimum growing habitat. Whatever you do, don’t use chemicals of any kind in your garden; and plant flowers that attract pollinators. Not only will you be helping these pollinators, but other wildlife will also benefit. For more information on Native Plants visit your local DNR website or check out the National Wildlife Federation web page to learn more.
May is Garden for Wildlife Month, which is a great incentive to learn more about how you can change the future of our ecosystem for the better. Threatened species will benefit, you and your loved ones will benefit, and our economy will benefit.
"Work Together." Advice from a Honey Bee ~ Your True Nature