Plant a Flower, Save the World

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ~Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Bee in flowerI’ve been dreaming about bees lately. I’m allergic to their stings, so it can be a bit alarming when they follow me around Dreamland. Nevertheless, I love seeing them in the garden and welcome their beauty and soft buzzing sound.

A TED talk recently reminded me of how important bees are to our planet and food supply. Each one of us can make a difference if we plant a flower. Perhaps some of you see flowers as important only for their aesthetic beauty and regard vegetables as the practical heart of the garden, but that is not the whole picture. Without flowers, we have no pollinators, and without pollinators we have no fruits and vegetables. Recent field studies show that planting a few flowers can change the ecology of any landscape for the better as well as provide food for insects and birds. So please your eye and please your palate – plant a flower and make the world a better place.

TED Talks: Why Bees are Disappearing 

Immerse your self in the wonder of pollinators with Schwartzberg’s The Hidden Beauty of Pollination (pollinator footage starts around 3:15)

For a look at how flowers affected the evolution of our world, read National Geographic’s The Big Bloom – How Flowering Plants Changed the World

The Penn State Extension has a great guide for planting Pollinator Friendly Gardens.

Doug Tallamy’s site Gardening for Life: Bringing Nature Home gives even more insight and suggestions on the importance of native plants for sustaining our natural world.

Deborah DeLong has a lovely blog, Romancing the Bee, on urban beekeeping, gardening, and cooking with honey.

If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live. ~Albert Einstein

30 thoughts on “Plant a Flower, Save the World

  1. I had to take out the very big snowball tree virbinum this week (it was failing over) I’ve become aware that I have sadly displaced a number of birds and insects pollinators. There is a sad hole in the garden but more sun . Thanks for this I’ll check out the link to pollinator garden for replacements.

    • Carol, its always sad to lose a big plant but also an opportunity to replace it with something as good or better 🙂 Let me know what you replace it with – I would guess that your climate allows for many choices.

  2. When I look the voluminous merchant displays of honey varieties, it will be rethinking how much we have so far….vs. what is happening now in the bigger world 😦

  3. You know I’m doing my part. It’s Oct. 7th and thanks to unseasonably warm weather, my gorgeous flower garden is still pumping out copious flowers and bees are everywhere. I had to stop wearing perfume when I sit amongst my flowers because the bees were settling into my hair and down my blouse. Yikes!

    Great info. 🙂

    • Eleanor, I definitely thought of you while writing this, knowing that you surround yourself with flowers. Ooh, bees down the blouse – not good! Glad to hear your garden is still going strong; it is cooling down here this week and starting to feel like October.

  4. I love Schwartzberg video! and very interesting talk. Too many people are using as an excuse of not planting flowers the fact that they are allergic – you are such a good example now that it shouldn’t matter!

  5. Our bees tend to be rather dangerous creatures. Nevertheless, I feel a bit guilty that I had a hive moved rather than reroute my path to the beach!
    Bees, like bats, are quite vital ecologically.

  6. A fascinating talk that lady gave in the first video. I have heard tell, rightly or wrongly, that bees are more attracted to wild flowers and the old fashioned type of yellow flowers and that we used to have in gardens. Apparently they are not attracted to the more colourful and exotic species that we plant nowadays .

    • Chris, you are right about the types of plants that attract bees. Simpler flowers with the pollen exposed are preferable, as well as ones whose color markings create a bee “landing strip.” Plants native to an area also evolve with the insects that feed on them, so the flowers of “native plants” are also important – that’s why “wild” flowers are so important in ecological systems. I try to mix natives in with my garden plants and I definitely see a preference on the part of the bees for the natives!

  7. I am reading a fascinating book by Simon Buxton called ‘The Shamanic Way of the Bee’ – absolutely fascinating!

    Jan Johnsen

    On Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 9:49 PM, composerinthegarden wrote:

    > ** > composerinthegarden posted: “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if > they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a > million flowers. ~Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine Ive been dreaming about > bees lately. Im allergic to their stings, so it can be a bit alarming > when”

  8. Have been so happy to see honey bees in my gardens this summer and especially this autumn…thank you for promoting greater awareness…will post a link to the TED Talk on Facebook. 🙂

    • Glad you liked the TED talk, Kitty. This year I saw a real decline in honey bees but an increase in the many other bee pollinators. I try to have flowering plants from March (early crocus) through October and there is always something buzzing around 🙂

  9. You have a couple of EpiPens that you take with you to the garden and you know how to use them I trust. Our hiking group is a little older and has a couple of people that are really allergic to bee stings so they carry them and the whole group has learned how to use them in case they were ever called to do that; it is important.

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