Signup to receive email updates
Former Program Coordinator, Horticulture
- Vermilion County Master Gardeners Garden Walk Sunday June 11, 2017
- Planting Milkweed for Monarchs
- Vermilion County Master Gardener Annual May Plant Sale in Danville
- Celebrate Spring with Garden Day Workshop-Keynote Speaker Doug Tallamy
- Why I Force Bulbs
- Why Become A Master Gardener?
- Making Fermented Beverages at Home
- June 2017 (1)
- May 2017 (2)
- February 2017 (1)
- November 2016 (2)
- October 2016 (1)
- September 2016 (1)
- August 2016 (1)
- June 2016 (1)
- April 2016 (1)
- March 2016 (2)
- February 2016 (2)
- December 2015 (1)
- November 2015 (2)
- September 2015 (2)
- August 2015 (1)
- July 2015 (4)
- June 2015 (4)
- May 2015 (2)
- January 2015 (3)
- December 2014 (3)
- November 2014 (2)
- October 2014 (2)
- September 2014 (4)
- June 2013 (1)
46 Total Posts
follow our RSS feed
Friday, May 29, 2015
A note from the author: This is the first part of a series of blog posts discussing pollinators. Check back weekly to read the latest entry.
Before you read any further, please indulge me for a moment. Close your eyes and take a few seconds to picture your favorite garden produce. Imagine the shape, color, and even fragrance of your chosen fruit or vegetable… Done?
It is highly likely that the crop you chose relies on a hard-working group of animals, called pollinators, to produce its fruit (and yes – tomatoes, peppers, and squash are indeed fruits, but that's a story for another time). In fact, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, nearly 75% of our crops are flowering plants that rely on pollinators for production.
Imagine a world without apples, peaches, and blueberries, a summer garden that's not overflowing with zucchini, or a Thanksgiving dinner without a pumpkin pie. Even our all-important coffee and chocolate depend on pollinators, so what exactly is a pollinator?
A pollinator is any animal that fertilizes a plant by moving the pollen (or male parts) of one flower to the stigma (or female parts) of another. Usually we think of bees and butterflies as the only pollinators, but moths, flies, beetles, and even some vertebrate animals like birds and bats can be pollinators.
Pollination allows plants, which aren't generally known for their ability to get up and move, to experience as much genetic diversity as possible. In fact, many plants have exclusive "relationships" and are only pollinated by a particular species of insect. We will take more in-depth look at this fascinating process next week.
Are you interested in learning more about attracting and supporting pollinators in your own garden? Join the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners in Ford-Iroquois Counties as they kick off National Pollinator Week 2015 with their Community Education Summer Series featuring programs focused on pollinators. Sandy Mason, Extension Horticulture Educator, will show you how you can plant a "Pollinator Pocket" of host and nectar plants that will provide food and shelter for bees and butterflies. To learn more about the Pollinator Pocket program, click here.
The Summer Series will be held at the following locations:
- Monday, June 15 – 7:00 pm
- Moyer District Library – 618 S. Sangamon Ave., Gibson City
- Tuesday, July 14 – 6:00 pm
- Watseka Public Library – 201 S. 4th St., Watseka
- Tuesday, August 11 – 1:30 pm
- Ford-Iroquois Extension Office – 916 W. Seminary Ave., Onarga
Each session is free to attend, but pre-registration is requested. To register, call our office at (815) 268-4051 or click here to register online. Do you want to promote the Community Education Series at a local business? If so, click here to download the series flyer.