As spring approaches, we look forward to the annual flowering of Montgomery’s gardens and parks. Seldom do we think about the elements of nature that contribute to this palette of color. It is our natural pollinators that are responsible for assisting over 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants.
The most recognized pollinators are the various species of bees. However, many insects other than bees accomplish pollination by visiting flowers for nectar or pollen, including:
- ants, and
In addition to insects, hummingbirds, bats, and other small animals also serve as pollinators. The Ohio state wildflower, the white trillium, is pollinated by bees and wasps but ants and mice spread its seeds.
Many plants are pollinated by wind or water without the aid of animals, such as:
- Most conifers and about 12 percent of the world’s flowering plants, and
- Grasses and their cultivated cousins, cereal crops, many trees, and allergic ragweed.
All release billions of pollen grains into the air so that a lucky few will reach their targets.
Interest and increased knowledge and awareness of the benefits of landscaping and gardening with native plants have resulted in nurseries producing native plants for the public to grow. Landscaping and gardening with native plants have many benefits including the creation of habitat for many different animals. Many are now planting butterfly gardens that benefit these beautiful pollinators and bring enjoyment to visitors and joy to the gardener.
- Grow more flowers for pollinators – Include different flower shapes, colors, sizes and bloom times.
- Protect habitat for nesting and resting.
- Reduce or eliminate pesticide use.
- Educate ourselves and our community.
The City of Montgomery plants 15,000 flowers each year and has been awarded Tree City USA status by the National Arbor Day Foundation every year since 1997. Montgomery’s seven parks and Johnson Nature Preserve consist of over 96 acres of protected green space. A unique gem is the perennial wildflower meadow in Pioneer Park. Interestingly, the meadow responds positively to periodic burning every three years. Seeds and roots can endure after the fire, and native grasses and wildflowers quickly regrow.