It’s almost spring, and if you like gardening in any of its many forms then you are already thinking about what you are going to plant this year.

Yes. You read that headline right. You might ask how the container gardening relates to pollinators. Until just a few short years ago, I found myself asking that same question. The more research I did, the more I learned just how important a role the bees play in our ecosystem.

The Importance of Bees

According to an article by Charity Schmidt in June of 2015 “two-thirds of crops require pollination by bees – that’s one out of every three bites of food we take.”

That statement alone caught my attention. It also states that more than 40% of honey bee colonies had been lost over the past year. That was 2015. I hope that those figures have improved since then.

Colony Collapse Disorder

The issue is referred to as “colony collapse.” Per Wikipedia, Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen.

There are many theories as to what has been causing it, but there is no doubt that it has been happening. Throughout history this issue has existed, but the numbers have increased to the point of concern.

A recent article by Stephanie Strom describes the issues from a professional bee keeper’s perspective. It covers the challenges and road blocks bee keepers face while trying to withstand the colony collapse issue.

Death and Extinction of the Bees published on the Global Research website delves even deeper into the colony collapse issue and is the most current information I could find. This article by Casey Williams is all about pollinating by hand in rural China due to the shrinking bee populations.

While the general consensus thus far is that there appears to be no one single answer to this issue, one thing is clear; without the bees we would have to rethink the pollination process for our food supply.

Gardening with Pollinators in Mind

The HoneyBee Conservancy has published an article encouraging us to rethink our lawns and gardens so we can provide food and habitat for our pollinators.

While not everyone has a yard or space for gardening, most everyone has a place for a container. Container gardening can be very satisfying and beautiful. I have seen some very lovely patio and deck containers as well as window boxes.

While you are searching for plants to live in those lovely containers, try expanding your search to plants that attract pollinators – bees. I would first search for the best plants to attract pollinators and then narrow that search down to those that will thrive in containers. This article by Elizabeth Scholl on the Hobby Farms website “10 Native Pollinator Plants for Containers” gives some examples.

There are a multitude of container plants that are beautiful and will serve our pollinators nicely. Whatever your feeling is about bees, container gardening with pollinators in mind is a win-win.

Do you have a large plot or a small container garden? Do you love to grow things that will attract butterflies and bees? What are some of your favorite plants as you look forward to the spring planting? Please share in the comments.

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