What are the consequences of leaving flowers out of the edible garden? Well, it depends.
If you have neighboring gardens with lots of flowers, you may have no consequences. Bees are amazing fliers and their territories can be as wide as 4 miles.
Further, it’s been shown that they are somewhat specific. So if a colony of bees is pollinating apple blossoms, they’ll come to your apple trees too, even if you do nothing special to entice them there.
If a colony of bees is pollinating everyone else’s tomato gardens, chances are they’ll stop by yours as well–even if you don’t have anything around to entice them like bright yellow marigolds or nasturtiums.
What is going to really mess things up for you? Pesticides! Pollinators are highly sensitive to pesticides! And remember, no pollinators, no fruits or vegetables. (Well, not exactly–we’ll still have lettuce and leafy greens, radishes and root crops, herbs–but many of our favorite summertime vegetables won’t be possible without pollinators–or be woefully stunted!)
On Monday I’ll talk about a story from my retail gardening days about just how influential pesticides are on crop production–and lack of pollinators.