Honeybee on blue forget-me-not inflorescense

Isn't planting flowers good for pollinators? Where did the bees go? 🐝

Tiger swallowtail butterfly and pink coneflowers on a sunny afternoon.

The garden is a magnificent display of blooming plants, but something seems amiss. The usual buzz of bees and the delicate fluttering of butterflies are noticeably absent. What could be causing this? 

The prolonged absence of rain has left our garden flowers with little nectar, leaving the pollinators with no sustenance to thrive on. 

However, fear not, for there is a simple solution that can make a significant difference. Read on to learn about the importance of watering your plants to support pollinators and foster a flourishing ecosystem.


The Impact of Drought on Pollinators

No Rain, No Nectar:

For nearly two weeks, our garden has not received the nourishing touch of rain. While we had a brief sprinkle recently, it evaporated before it could quench the thirsty ground. The absence of rainwater has created a scarcity of nectar for insects and hummingbirds that rely on it for sustenance. 

Bees visit the flowers in search of nectar but return to their colonies empty-handed, having found no nourishment to report. Consequently, their visits diminish over time.

The Power of Watering Your Plants

The Easiest Way to Support Pollinators:

Fortunately, there is a straightforward way to aid the pollinators in our garden – watering our plants.

By providing our flowering plants, shrubs, and trees with a generous bucket of water, we can help replenish the nectar supply and create a welcoming habitat for pollinators and birds.

This small act of kindness ensures the continuation of the vital pollination process, without which we would be devoid of the fruits we enjoy.

Understanding the Pollination Cycle

The Intricate Dance of Pollinators:

Giant resin bee on Evodia tree bloom

To appreciate the significance of our role as gardeners in supporting pollinators, we must understand the intricate pollination cycle

Flowering plants transform water into nectar, a precious resource for various pollinators such as bees, butterflies, beetles, and flies. 

As these pollinators feed on nectar, they inadvertently pick up pollen on their bodies. This pollen, when transported to other flowers, fertilizes them, enabling the development of fruits weeks or months later. 

From the juicy peaches at farmers' markets to the wild berries that sustain wildlife, all owe their existence to these humble pollinators. Some seeds in those fruits become new plants and the cycle starts over.

By watering our plants, we ensure the continuity of this critical cycle.

The Devastating Effect of Lack of Water

Halting the Cycle:

Without water, the delicate balance of the ecosystem is disturbed. The interruption of the pollination cycle hinders the development of fruits and negatively impacts the surrounding flora and fauna. By neglecting to provide water, we inadvertently disrupt the natural harmony of our garden.

The Best Watering Practices

Watering at the Roots:

When watering your plants, it is crucial to focus on the roots rather than spraying water directly onto the flowers. Directly spraying water on the flowers can wash away the nectar that the plants have worked so hard to produce. Similarly, heavy rainfall can have the same effect. 

Pink columbine flower

That's why flowers like columbines, bellflowers, and foxglove are insect favorites! They hang down, keeping their nectar sheltered from rain and watering. It's like an exclusive buffet where bugs can feast without their treats getting washed away.

When designing your garden, don't forget to mix it up with flowers of various shapes and sizes, ensuring that pollinators always have something delectable to feast upon.

Remember, the simple act of watering our plants can have a profound impact on the presence and abundance of pollinators in our gardens. 

By providing water at the roots, we ensure that the plants have the necessary hydration to produce nectar, which in turn attracts colorful butterflies and supports the development of generous fruit. 

Let's step up as pollinator guardians and give those blooming plants a drink during long spells without rain.

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