Seedy Saturday brings you the pollinators

This year's Seedy Saturday event in Qualicum Beach has a focus on bees and other pollinating insects

“You see wild bumblebees, in particular, rolling about in ecstasy, tumbling with abandon, and picking the pollen up all over their furry bodies.”

So said Christopher Lloyd in the tiny book Gardens — a collection of brief garden wisdom.

From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 4 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, the 10th annual Seedy Saturday will kick-start spring while bringing you garden wisdom, with this year’s theme, “10 Years of Growing: Buzzing Right Along.”

As you will have guessed by now, it’s a day for the bees and their fellow pollinators, along with the usual wonders always on tap.

Seed swap tables, savvy speakers who really know of which they garden, vendors of seeds and all things garden-ish, draw prizes from a mini greenhouse for getting things off to a good start to a Jolda vase for displaying the results, farmers’ market, youngsters’ Shoots with Roots, and the Seedy Café to keep up your strength for the occasion … all these await your attention on Saturday.

And … you can get a head start on Friday evening at 7 p.m. (if you get to the Windsor Room early) by hearing author/entomologist Linda Gilkeson’s presentation Troubleshooting Town Hall: Get Ready for your 2012 Garden.

In recent media releases you will have found the details on these other knowledgeable speakers.

Another special event at this year’s Seedy will be the honoring of Qualicum Beach’s Joy Smith, a founding member of this Seedy day, and the adoption by the Seedy Saturday Committee of the bean variety “Everbearing Joy” into the Canadian Seed Library.

We know, Joy, that, “there’s plenty of inspiration to be found in [your] garden.” —  John Spencer in Gardens.

As this year’s theme emphasizes, Seedy Saturday would be a non-sprouter without The Pollinators. The world’s pollinators are responsible for the survival of about three quarters of all flowering plants and crops, worldwide; without them plant and animal life as we know it could not go on.

In fact, the worldwide economic value of insect pollination alone has been estimated at $217 billion!

Who are these critical creatures? They’re the bees, wasps, beetles, flies, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and bats.

How do the pollinators work as gardeners’ helpers?

They don’t likely have that particular job description in mind when they zero in to steal a few drops of a flower’s nectar and move onto another and another to do the same thing.

All being creatures adorned with a little or a lot of fuzzy bits, these creatures brush against a plant’s pollen-covered anthers and in their rush to the trough, tiny grains of powdery yellow pollen stick to them, and are haphazardly carried and dropped to the same or another plants’ pistil.

Here the pollen works its way down to the plant’s ovary and fertilizes the seeds waiting there.

So … no pollinators, no fertile seeds, no plants.

True, there are some plants and trees which are wind or water fertilized, or are self-fertilizing, but we wouldn’t want to depend on them exclusively for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We do need the pollinators.

Some of our most efficient pollinators are in trouble or have even disappeared from their range.

Disease, pesticide poisoning, pollution, and habitat loss have contributed to their demise.

We, as gardeners and/or landscapers can helped these beleaguered helpers maintain vital and healthy ecosystems.

Design a garden with plants to attract and feed the pollinators, use native plants when possible, and plan for a diverse range of plants to whet different pollinator appetites, planting them in profusion rather than a single plant here and there. Come to Seedy Saturday, on February 4 and learn a thing or two about The Pollinators.

Maybe the birds and the bees, and the butterflies, and the hummingbirds do believe, like Georgia O’Keeefe, that, “If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.”

 

 

 

— Nancy Whelan is a regular News columnist.