Cheshire Life|June 2020
In the summer of Covid-19, many of us are spending more time in our gardens. This is a time to think about nature, especially when it comes to providing food for pollinating insects – the creatures we are often unaware of busily doing their thing among the flowers and vegetables. I am making an effort to observe them more closely. At a time when wildflower meadows are in decline, gardens can provide a vital source of nectar.
To encourage pollinating insects into your garden it is important to plant a variety of types, shapes, and sizes of flowers, as this will provide nectar or pollen for a wide range of species. Insect mouthparts vary in shape and size and this determines the types of flowers they will visit. Some prefer flute-like flowers such as foxglove and penstemon, and lupins with their sweetpea type petals, while others favour the flat flowers of daisies, meconopsis and single roses, which present their pollen openly.
By grouping flowers of the same kind together in large drifts, you make locating and exploiting resources easier for insects.
If you are not into gardening and have space only for a few pots, or a window box, these can be beneficial too. Hoverflies don’t care if your marigolds are grown in the front of a garden border or in your favourite terracotta pot on the patio. Food is food.
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