A report by Mike Belton on our meeting in September 2018 when Marina Christopher spoke on ‘Choice Plants for Pollinators Throughout the Season’.
After briefly touching on the evolution of pollination from the high energy method of wind dispersal, with huge quantities of pollen needed and the random nature of its effectiveness, to the much more efficient use of insects and other creatures, Marina talked of the parallel development of plant attractants and the pollinator’s adaptations. Plant examples included nectar, scent and guiding markings, and pollinator abilities included changes such as longer tongues. In some cases this has made plant and pollinator mutually dependent, so that each is potentially vulnerable to changes such as those in climate.
Colchicums are valuable in the autumn.
Symphyotrichum ‘Little Carlow’ showing pollinated and unpollinated flowers.
The whole was neatly rounded off by Tim Ingram’s vote of thanks, commenting that her ideas are “a new direction of thought that is really significant”.
It is a bit cheeky of me to think that I can add anything to Marina’s talk but I did speak to her afterwards because it is all very well providing all this food for the adult insects but they also need food for juveniles, and habitat to live in. Bees are largely catered for with pollen and nectar, although bumble and solitary types need habitat for overwintering and the next generation, many others need food sources for their juvenile forms and one should maybe think in terms of providing sacrificial plants, though fuchsias for elephant hawk moths might be a step too far. Marina’s succinct answer was, “Do not be too tidy”.