A Last Thought about Pollinators

If you happened to see the comment on my post last Monday, it was quite insightful. A regular commenter noted that most pollinators are not natives (think honeybees for example), and asked why natives were better.

My answer was that I was relying on the many books of Doug Tallamy (otherwise known as Douglas W. Tallamy, PhD, entomologist) and that the statistic I remembered best from Bringing Nature Home, the book that really made him famous (so to speak) was that oaks fed 462 species while magnolias only fed 30.

Since then, Tallamy has authored a few more books and his most recent is one specifically on oaks called The Nature of Oaks.

So what’s the takeaway on all this?

As with anything, I think that much of this is still evolving. Because weather patterns are in flux–I will leave it to you to decide how much of this we have caused–can natives still help the situation? If plants are blooming earlier, will this help the creatures that rely on them?

I don’t think that any of this is settled right now. So as gardeners, I think we owe it to ourselves–and perhaps to the creatures that use our habitat, if we are providing for that–to try to grow pesticide free, diverse choices for the wildlife.

Right now, perhaps that’s the best we can do.

2 thoughts on “A Last Thought about Pollinators

  1. tonytomeo June 28, 2021 / 8:09 pm

    Well, realistically, I grow what I want to in my garden, whether pollinators approve of it or not. My garden is not very pretty, because it is so simply utilitarian. Bees and other pollinators happen to enjoy the fruit trees very much. I would grow them regardless. I grow several flowers also, only because I have grown them so long, and they came from former gardens. Bees dig them also. Off the embankment, I would be inclined to toss seed for the native California poppies. Pollinators happen to like them, but really, my main justification is that they do not need much more than what they can get on their own. I might water them to keep them around longer than they naturally would be, but I would not give them much water.My little garden does not do much within the vastness of the forest.

  2. gardendaze June 29, 2021 / 7:12 am

    Realistically, I grow what will grow here–and I don’t say that lightly. We are on rock ledge, so much so that the ledge juts out of the ground–several feet high in places. That forces our tree roots above ground in places and it gives us very heavy wet clay soil. Cold doesn’t kill my plants; the lingering wet in the spring is what does them in usually. It took me quite awhile to figure that out.

    I have a few raised beds, but all those are are large containers, really so they need a lot more water than anything else. I am not used to coddling plants like that.

    And you’re absolutely right about the bees. As I said in my post, my yard is an oasis for them, not so much because of natives, but because I don’t carpet bomb it with pesticides every other week like my neighbors. If you’re growing edibles, I suspect you’re pretty sensible about that too.


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