A Park For Pollinators
July 23, 2010
Allan in Musings on the Environment, bees, flower fragrance, pollinator park, pollinators

I used to think that the reduced sensibility to flower aromas in the summer air was directly related to growing older. I genuinely believed that my olfactory senses were becoming less acute with age. That is, until I came across a study, done in 2008, by the University of Virginia. Researchers there discovered that the dispersal in the air of garden fragrances have been compromised by air pollutants. Consequently, not only do we experience a weaker aroma from our flowers but also, the bees that pollinate plants are doing less work, because they are less attracted to the flowers.

In the 19th century it was determined that molecules of flower aroma could travel a distance of up to 1 Km away from a plant. Today, that distance has been reduced to 200 or 300 meters. Researchers estimate that about 90% of floral aromas disappeared with the arrival of the automobile and the exponential growth of heavy industry. Some scientists link this decrease in the intensity of aromas in the air to the decrease in the number of bumblebees that are necessary for pollination of food plants. Without the scent of the flower, the bees are not drawn to its nectar, their source of food. Without the food, they die.

In an attempt to improve the breeding of bees, the Canadian city of Guelph, Ontario has developed an innovative program to encourage the propagation of pollinating insects.. One hundred hectares of landfill has been designated as a Pollinators Park. This is the first public park anywhere in the world dedicated to attracting pollinating insects and birds. The former city dump has been transformed into a prairie, a preferred habit where pollinating insects such as bees, can flourish.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/).
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