Much of the food we eat is directly or indirectly the result of pollination. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of a flower to a female part of a flower of the same species. The pollen then travels down to the egg of the female part of the flower and fertilizes it, producing fruit and the seed/embryo inside. So how does pollination happen?
Some plants are pollinated by wind or water, but most are pollinated by an animals. In fact, almost 90% of plants rely on animals to pollinate them. According to the Pollinator Partnership, there are over 200,000 species of animals that are pollinators. Nearly all of them are insects.
Unfortunately, many insects are in trouble because of pesticide use and loss of habitat. But there is something all of us gardeners can do:we can plant a row for the pollinators. Better yet, learn how to create habitat for them so they reproduce in our gardens as well, ensuring we have pollinators year after year.
Next week Eric Mader from the Xerces Society is going to be teaching a day-long workshop on Pollinator Conservation. If you are in Washington, this shouldn't be missed! For more information go to the Xerces website.