Gardeners can celebrate Earth Day this year in a very meaningful way by helping to build and sustain populations of beneficial organisms. By selecting plants such as annuals and perennials that attract pollinators, providing a source of clean water, and limiting the use of pesticides, your backyard can become a refuge for creatures that perform such an important function in our world. When selecting pollinator-friendly plants, be sure to provide for a steady supply of blooms throughout the growing season. Annuals that bloom continuously all summer are great; add perennials to increase variety and to extend the season on either end. Since different flowers appeal to different pollinators, variety is important. Many bees, for example, are attracted to blue, purple, yellow, or white flowers. Hummingbirds prefer red (or bright pink) tubular flowers. Most butterflies have a penchant for red and orange flowers, while night flying moths prefer white or pale blooms that reflect moonlight. Butterflies enjoy flower heads rimmed with flat petals for perching; it's fun to watch them bask in the sun. A lot is riding on the activity of bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, and the few other critters that are responsible for pollinating our plants. A significant chunk of our food and beverage supply -- about 75% -- depends on the activity of these hard workers. By transferring pollen from the male to the female flower parts, the flower is fertilized; fruit and seed formation follows. Apples, cherries, blueberries, pumpkins, squash, and melons are just a few of the many insect-pollinated crops we grow.Pollination is also essential for continued reproduction of plants. Although some plants depend on wind or rain for the transfer of pollen, nearly 90% of all plants are pollinated with the help of an animal of some kind. How important are these creatures? There are species of plants that have become extinct because there were no pollinators to help them reproduce. Recently many pollinator species have experienced a decline. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has destroyed thousands of honeybee hives and the precise cause has yet to be determined. The loss or fragmentation of habitat and the overuse of pesticides has reduced populations of many native pollinators, such as bumblebees and several species of solitary nesting bees.
This was taken from an email from White Flower Farm. It was in my mail this morning. I had been wondering what to post for Earth Day and then this came in my mailbox. Earth Day..... It's a day that all people should pay attention to. Our earth is where we live...let's take care of it.