Living landscapes specialist stresses importance of pollinators

Cynthia Pohl has designed sustainability garden projects around Central Alberta

  • Sep. 22, 2016 3:00 p.m.

BY RYAN WELLICOME

Lacombe Express

 

Living Lands Landscape and Design specialist Cynthia Pohl taught gardeners the importance of pollinators at a meeting of the Lacombe and District Garden Club on Tuesday.

According to Pohl pollinators have an important and far-reaching impact on ecosystems in Central Alberta’s parkland ecosystem and others around the world.

“Every terrestrial ecosystem on the planet relies on the act of pollinators,” she said.

“Without this simple act of pollination that millions probably trillions of insects are doing all across the globe gardening would not exist,” she said.

“Without the act of pollination and pollinators, the world as we know it would be a very different place.”

Pohl stressed that pollinator health around the world is declining due to habitat loss and pesticides including Neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids are neuro-active insecticides that are chemically similar to nicotine. They are particularly toxic to bees, the largest contributor to worldwide pollination. The compound affects bees’ ability to forage, learn, and recall navigational routes between food sources and their hives.

Pohl stressed that making gardens friendly to all pollinators and bees in particular, is crucial to the survival of indigenous species.

Bees, flies, ants, wasps, beetles and birds all contribute to pollination by facilitating the transfer of pollen from the male portion of a flowering plant, the stamen, to the female portion, the pistol. This facilitates a plant’s reproduction.

“Of that group (of pollinators) bees are the most important pollinators. This is because they have this characteristic called flower constancy, which means that when they go out to forage, they are generally going to forage on just one species of plant,” said Pohl.

“They are going to find the type of nectar and pollen that they like the best that day and they are going to keep going to that plant. What that means is that plant has a better chance at being successfully pollinated and being able to create viable seed.”

Pohl said that other pollinators will usually visit many different kinds of plants and though their efforts could be successful for a variety of plants, they will not be as successful as the efforts of bees.

According to Pohl, in order to create a garden friendly to bees there are a few things to keep in mind.

Plenty of flowering plants with nectar and pollen will increase the bees’ food sources. The plant selection must be ideal for bees in particular. As plants bloom at different times of the year, a variety of plants must be provided in order to cover the entire pollinating season.

Also, plants that are indigenous to the area will provide better sources for the bees due to evolution alongside one another.

The final thing to consider is whether or not a garden has areas that bumblebees and solitary bees can nest in and winter. Bumblebees tend to nest in dry patches of loose soil, usually underneath fallen grass for insulation. Solitary bees make their nests in dead wood and plant stems.

Artificial homes can be created for both types. For those who may be apprehensive about letting bees live in their gardens: according to Pohl, bumblebees and solitary bees are extremely docile.

Pohl is a green roof professional who designs rooftop gardens and relies on ecological landscape design. She has designed many sustainability garden projects and bee hotels in Red Deer and around Central Alberta. She is currently the head gardener at the Ellis Bird Farm.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Red Deer RCMP investigate Oriole Park home invasion

RCMP believe it was a targeted home invasion, targeting wrong residence

Blackfalds RCMP investigate break and enter at Fas Gas

RCMP search for suspect who cut through an outside wall to gain access

Lacombe Community Christmas Dinner on the way

Doors open at noon on Dec. 25th with dinner served at 12:30 p.m.

Ponoka RCMP release photo of vehicle of interest in highway fatality

Photo was captured at about 7 p.m. on the QEII at the Gee Road exit

Local author releases brand new international thriller

Retired teacher Larry Stewart hosting a book launch this weekend

WATCH: The public gets a taste of robotics

Lacombe students show off their skills in Red Deer

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Missing Alberta man could be headed to Victoria

Police in Alberta say Vernon “Allan” Pickard has not been heard from since late November

Cineplex charges extra at some Star Wars screenings

Fans are getting a surprise twist at the box office with extra $1 charges for assigned seating

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

5-year anniversary of Sandy Hook shooting

When just saying ‘I’m from Newtown’ can be a cross to bear

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Most Read