Bring back the pollinators

single-meta-cal June 27, 2024

The small bed of flowering plants swarms with bees and butterflies and this is exactly how Soozi Pline wants it.

The retired director of education at Huntsville Botanical Garden, Pline and her husband Dan are converting their yard into a hive of pollinator activity and it’s perhaps an example we should all follow.

“We have to have pollinators – these are bees, butterflies, bats, native birds – we need to have them or we won’t have a third of our food crops that are fruits and vegetables,” Soozi Pline said. “It’s very important.”

Simply put, it’s how nature helps sustain life – even if it’s maybe far from view. But that behind-the-scenes work, so to speak, is important.

That’s why pollinators were celebrated in June. Nationally, June 17-23 was recognized as Pollinator Week. On June 26, Hays Nature Preserve held a Pollinator Party to help children understand the value of pollinators.

“You plant a plant that’s flowering,” Pline explained. “And there’s nectar. And pollinators, that’s what they consume. They come and get the nectar. And in the process of moving from flower to flower, they move pollen. And when they move that pollen, then they actually fertilize. The pollen gets moved and then we’ve got seeds. And from a seed, you’ve got something that’s going to grow.

“In my case, I’ve got blueberries. I’ve got 14 different blueberry plants and my blueberries would not be loaded right now if I didn’t have pollinators.”

box garden by a driveway and picked fence filled with bright orange and pink flowers that re attracting bees and butterflies

And that’s just in one yard at one home in north Alabama that’s just getting started cultivating pollinator plants.

It’s not difficult to get started and reap the benefits of pollinators. Planting plants that will flower is the first step. Ideally, plants native to the area are best but pollinators will be attracted to any flowering plant. And the cycle will begin again from consuming the nectar to spreading the fertilizing pollen.

And even if you have no particular desire to use pollinators to help grow fruits or vegetables, the environment you create help protect pollinators and their role in ecosystems and agriculture.

Beyond pollination, there is also the benefit of the beauty provided by flowers. You can also learn more about pollination and talk to experts at places such as Huntsville Botanical Garden. Pline leads expeditions each Tuesday through July at the Harvest Square Nature Preserve at 111 Allyson Sadie Blvd. in Harvest.