My passion in life is gardening and specifically growing flowers from seed

Category: cottage gardening

Bees Aren’t The Only Pollinators You Need For Your Sunflower Garden

If you have not been tending beautiful flower gardens in your homestead, it is not too late to get started. But apart from nutrient-rich soil and adequate water being vital necessities in this quest, pollinators will make your flower garden bloom.
However, did you know that while bees remain prominent pollinators in every flower garden, they aren’t the only one? Well, we thought so too, but after researching pollination, our views on this subject have changed.
We know you are probably asking a lot of questions right now, but first things first, here is something thought-provoking. If you woke up one day to discover that bees have disappeared, how will you react? Well, the thought of lacking important pollinators like bees in a flower garden would throw your head into a spin, but not after reading this post. You should remain upbeat about a blooming garden in 2019, even if you ax bees from pollination equation.

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The mechanics of Pollination and Pollinators
Whether you are a novice or experienced gardener, the relationship between flowers and pollinators is deeper than mutual. It is as old as the hills. Like humans reproduce, plants too need the intervention of insect pollinators to make fruits or seeds.
Pollination, which is the transfer of pollen from male plants to stigma of female plants (same or different plants of the same species), is a process that facilitates reproduction in plants. At the center of it, are insects (pollinators) that undertake Biotic (cross) pollination.
Pollinators are responsible for the movement of pollen from one plant to another. For bees, perching on beautiful lilies and tulips is all about mutually benefiting relationship. Flowering plants produce nectar, a substance bees need to make honey.
Thus, as you weigh on your next flower choices, consider practicing apiculture so you can have bees nearby. The cost of starting an apiary wouldn’t leave a dent in your pocket. Moreover, you must ask these 10 questions about beekeeping before you can get started.
Is relying on honeybees for pollination a risky strategy for gardeners?
Scientists have sought to unearth more regarding non-bee pollination. Findings published on phys.org paint an interesting picture of crop pollination. A case in point is that using pesticides to get rid of insects like butterflies and aphids could cause the death of vital pollinators. More findings from the study commissioned by the University of Queensland-Australia indicate that flowering crops like kiwi, mangoes, canola, custard apples and coffee depend on non-bee pollinators to fruit.
Does it, therefore, mean that excessively relying on honeybees to pollinate your crops is a risky gardening strategy? Well, Dr. Margie Mayfield from the University of Queensland thinks so. She says that given increasing risk of honeybees, it is only safe that gardeners and farmers began relying on non-bee pollinators. She adds that such as a strategy also means well for agriculture now and in the future.
Non-bees Pollinators: Redefining Pollination
Honeybees are renowned pollinators but not the only ones. Moreover, the risk of death posed to these insects by Varroa mites and diseases that trigger colony collapse disorder means gardeners should rethink their pollination strategies. Colony collapse disorder is a situation where worker bees disappear, leaving behind food and queen bee to care for immature bees. Recent studies show that apart from Varroa mites that invade beehives, killing millions of honeybees, other causes of colony collapse disorder are diseases such as gut parasite Nosema and Israeli Acute Paralysis.
When you conceive the fact that population of bees is on a downward trend, urgent measures are put in place to save the worker bee, farmers and gardeners risk losing prominent pollinators of all time. However, there is still hope. Non-bee pollinators are equally necessary for your poppies, foxgloves and Japanese anemones and other flowers. They include but not to limited to the following:

• Wasps
• Butterflies
• Moths
• Thrips
• Flies
• Ants
• beetles

Butterflies, many gardeners who love to spend quality time tending their flowers will agree, are second to bees on matters of pollination. You don’t need rocket science to discern this glaring fact. Where flowers bloom, there are butterflies. It is the balance of nature. From Monarch, Red-spotted butterfly, Tiger Swallowtail, Pipevine swallowtail, black swallowtail to Viceroy and other breeds, butterflies add jest to flower gardens.
While wasps as not as efficient as bees when it comes to pollination, the fact is they often visit flowers. Bees are effective because they have lots of body hair on which pollen grain attach. However, if you narrow down to specific wasp species such as Masarinae (pollen wasps) that feed on nectar/pollen, you have a non-bee insect pollinator that is as effective as honeybees. Other notable wasp breeds that effectively undertake pollinator are fig wasps, V.vuglaris and V. germanica.
Flies often feed on flowers, something that contributes to pollination. Out of 150 families of flies, more than half are active pollinators. In the Alpine and Arctic, places where bees are not very active, flies are the main plant pollinators. Hoverflies take the lead. Modification of their proboscises is best suited for sucking nectar, making them popular in orchards. Others are dung flies, bee flies, March flies, and carrion flies.
Like butterflies, moths spend a lot of time carting pollens from one flower to another. They are popular with fragrant white flowers (think jasmine or white lilies). The most popular moth breeds on matters of pollination are sphinx and hawk.
Historically, beetles were the earliest pollinators preceding bees, dating back to 150 million years ago. Here, you could think about ancient flowers such as water lilies, magnolias, and cycads. Cantharophily is a scientific term for pollination where beetles are the only participants. A notable fact about flowers that beetles pollinator is that they are often spicy with a sweet fragrance.
The Bottom Line
Without pollination, plants cannot fruit. For gardeners who love growing flowers in their backyard, we hope you’ve learned something new. Get to know non-bees pollinators and flowers they prefer will help you embrace gardening like a pro.

This is written by guest blogger: FROM SCRATCH, they are dedicated to providing a free online publication for those who enjoy living life simply. It is positioned for the rural enthusiast. Accompanied by beautiful photography and well written content – From Scratch is the go-to guide for those who have chickens in the backyard, sew their own clothes, make their own jam, and enjoy gardening. VISIT OFFICIAL WEBSITE: https://www.fr


Wordless Wednesday- cosmos finally flowering

August 2019 in my garden

Is quite a wet place but filled with colour and some new plants. The early flowers such as poppies, lupins and foxgloves (picture below of a late flowerer) have mostly finished and the later flowers such as Japanese anemones (picture below), rudbeckia, helenium and phlox are steeling the show.

I have been busy digging out a dusky pink overgrown celone from the long border (as I call it), digging in compost and replanting with a variety of things. A lovely blue Veronica (seems quite happy in its spot),

a perennial foxglove, chocolate cosmos, dianthus and some lupin grown from seed. The lupins were very happy in the greenhouse but much less impressed with the garden.

Pictures of other plants flowering below including a hellebore flowering only 6 months early and some of my new plants

New plants

I’ve bought a few new very pretty plants recently. 2 new blue delphiniums although I did wait til I knew where one would be planted before buying it. I have fallen in love with another today but I left it in the shop for now. I didn’t fancy putting it in a hot office for the afternoon. Hoping it might be there next time I go to that shop.

Also a beautiful red penstemon which is actually planted in the front not with all the others in the back.


Things are coming on thick and fast in my northwest England garden and today I’d like to share my pictures of lilies growing in the garden. I garden on clay and so the lilies are in pots as I’m not sure they’d take to the conditions well.

The pink one is flowering for the first time this year, I planted them early in 2018. They are such a pretty colour. I love pink in the garden.

The red, yellow and orange ones have been undisturbed in their pots for years and flower faithfully each year with some feed when I remember.

The last picture is an alstroemeria which I need to plant in the ground really as it’s grown out of its pot! It flowers from about March in the greenhouse right through to November again in the greenhouse with a stint outside in the summer.

Wordless Wednesday- sweetpeas

Castle Mey grown from seed in February

Wordless Wednesday- penstemon


These must be one of the highlights of my garden currently and are in the replacement bed (by the front door) of the original Wendy’s wonderland garden. The name of this blog. Although the blog actually refers to the whole garden. I do have a white delphinium elsewhere and would definitely like more. As long as I don’t let the slugs at them when they first appear all is good and they need staking when tall.

Wordless Wednesday – lilies

June 2019 in my garden

I have just returned home from a week away and my garden has literally taken off while I’ve been gone. So many new things flowering and even my seeds in the greenhouse have come on so well. Must be all that rain we’ve had. I’ve been able to spend a little time tidying up and planting some things out a bit late but the weather was poor before I left! Here’s what’s currently flowering in my garden