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“Wouldn’t you like a native “Pollinator Symphony” right out your door?


When was the last time you ” unplugged” and just sat outside, without a cell phone, or laptop, or music playing in your head…to just listen to nature? We all have become so disconnected from the natural world that it is effecting our health. This new disorder is known as Nature Deficit Disorder, but that is another post some day. If we do not get outside, turn off our electronic world we will one day have no choice, but to pay attention, for what you eat will no longer be, and it will be too late to make a difference!There is a world that is only visible up close, if you take the time to sit and be still, you will hear the pollinators of our world. They move around us all day long, and we do not even bid them a good morning as we dart to and from our homes.Do you even breath as you race all day long?




 I have to admit, for many years, I did not breath, took for granted the beauty around me and one day, I was forced to slow down.I had NO CHOICE but to pay attention, for my health was dependent on “pesticide” free organic food. That was back in 2000 and since that “wake-up call,” I have been trying to get the word out to others that we need to care about how our food is grown and help the “pollinators” around us get the job done.  I have written posts before and will continue to remind people periodically, about how Mother Nature is waving her red flag do you see it???  It is a subject dear to my heart, for since I have been creating a pollinator friendly habitat in my own Urban Potager, I have found each year new visitors arrive. All the pollinators work together to  keep our small city lot  filled with activity from spring to late fall! Natures “Pollinator Symphony” is playing all day long, right out my door and there is no better music in the world!


 According to the NRCS ” There are approximately 200,000 different species of animals around the world that act as pollinators….of these, about 1000 are vertebrates, such as birds, bats and small mammals, and the rest are invertebrates, including flies,beetles, butterflies, moths and bees.”  These native pollinators are needed by us to pollinate ( almost 90%) of the plants that are in our environment. Up to 75% of our food, natural resources and medicines we use daily is provided to us by pollinators. Our pollinators need our help.Surely we can integrate our life with theirs…can’t we?


 Our native pollinators are struggling in our city areas, and we can make a difference by just creating a habitat that can help them, feed us, and create our own “pollinator symphony!” When I sit outside, close my eyes on a sunny fall day, I hear natures “Symphony” for it just hums with action from early dawn to dusk. Every morning I wake to the birds singing outside my window from spring to fall. As I sit in my garden on a warm fall day, a humming-bird zips past me. Bees of all different sizes hum all day long as they float from flower to flower, I can hear our native chipmunks chatter to all their friends as they scurry across the paths and sometimes  a butterfly mistakes me for a plant and lands right on my shoulder!


The USDA Forest Service provides an excellent site to help you get started creating your own habitat for pollinators. When creating your “pollinator symphony” you need to start  plants that provide for your pollinators throughout the growing season and their life cycles.  It all works together in perfect  harmony and  it just hums all summer long with activity!


You do not need much space. Just get outside and start in a small area. I started in one corner of my yard back, in 2003 which at the time was no larger than 10 x 10. I started with a few cherry tomatoes, peppers,and  greens. I am sure you have some time + space  to do that, don’t you? Shut down your computer, turn off your tv and go outside and look around where you live.



 Check out the  list from the Wildlife Habitat Management Institutes (NRCS) of some food you might like to grow outside your door.The Xerces Society  is a great resource of  lists of native plants for a variety of areas all over the world. Find your location and research the best plants to attract native pollinators to your area.

 Table 1 Crops dependent upon or benefited by insect pollination

Legumes and Beans, Cowpea, Lima Beans, Lupines, Mung Bean/Green or Golden Gram, Soybean
Vegetables Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cantaloupes, Carrot, Cauliflower,
Celeriac, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Green Pepper, Leek, Lettuce, Okra, Onion,
Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rutabaga, Squash, Tomato, Turnip, White Gourd
Fruits, berries Almonds, Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cacao, Cashew, Cherry, Chestnut,
and nuts Citrus, Coffee, Coconut, Crabapple, Cranberry, Currant, Date, Fig, Gooseberry, Grapes,
Guava, Huckleberry, Kiwi, Kolanut, Litchi, Macadamia, Mango, Olive, Papaw, Papaya,
Passionfruit, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Plum, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry, Tung,
Vanilla, Watermelon
Herbs and Allpsice, Anise, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Chive, Clove, Coriander, Dill, Fennel,
spices Lavender, Mustard, Nutmeg, Parsley, Pimento, Tea, White Pepper
Oils, seeds and Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Canola, Flax, Oil Palm, Safflower, Sesame, Sunflower
Clover and rel- Alsike Clover, Arrowleaf Clover, Ball Clover, Berseem Clover, Black Medic/Yellow Trefoil,
atives Cider Milkvetch, Crimson Clover, Lespedeza, Peanut, Persian Clover, Red Clover, Rose
Clover, Strawberry Clover, Subterranean Clover, Sweet Clover, Trefoil, Vetch, White Clover
Other Cotton, Kenaf


If you find a few crops you might like to grow, start small. I know every inch of my yard is filled, but keep in mind, I have been building this for over a decade. I started out in one corner of my yard, back in 2000. It takes time to ponder what you want to grow and believe me when you taste the food you grow; you will never want to NOT grow your own! Be patient and listen to your own ” pollinator symphony” from spring to fall + they will let you know what plants they need to do their work. Once you “unplug” + get outside creating your outdoor space, you will feel good about how you are helping the native pollinators do their job, for together, with them, you will be keeping your family, friends, and neighbors healthy!


If you take the time to watch the pollinators working, they hardly stay still long enough for you to capture them, but all of them are important,

Pollinator-moth-brown-small-2014IMG_5852-1even the smallest need our help to create a healthy garden….Bravo!

monarch september mexican sunflower and aster 038_edited-1

So the encore will be next year…..start “planting” for a great show!

67 replies »

    • awwww…I just follow them around and they do all the work:-)I love watching them when they are loaded with pollen-they fly crooked! They look like they are drunk from pollen, well they are carrying a load!:-) truly a magical world they live in around us and they make the work look easy:-)

  1. Another awesome post Ms Robbie and SO important for everyone to read. Plant things that pollinators like. Give them a reason to come calling and they will, in their droves. Feed them well and give them a chance to carry on. A lovely post full of gorgeous photos, just made my day 🙂

  2. Everything you say is so true Robbie. Wonderful pollinator photos too! Would it be okay for me to reblog this post on a pollinator blog I share with a friend here in Ireland (it’s a work in progress). Though you are in the US, the message is still the same for us here.

    • It makes my day when others want to share-you can reblog it anytime:-) I really hope we all pull together “all over ” the world to help our pollinators:-) How neat we can reach out over the cyber fence and pass the word on:-)

  3. WONDERFUL POST! Your message is an important one. Per usual, your photos are exceptional – I love the pollen-dusted bees – they must feel like they are in heaven when they visit your garden! Are the monarchs from this year? I must say that the ‘pollinator symphony’ is my favorite type of music 🙂

    • I just love pollen loaded bees + they are easier to photograph since they don’t move as fast with all that pollen! I have had more monarchs this year after I planted more host plants. All the butterflies + bees love the tall Mexican Sunflower/ Tithonia rotundifolia.I took that picture when the monarch was on an 8 foot Mexican Sunflower! I have to plant the shorter ones next year! I have had more monarchs than usual this year, so that is a good thing. I have also had “droves” of bees which is a great sight to see! They were running into each other on the flowers! lol 🙂

    • oops..Eliza you are right the bottom photo was a monarch from 2010 since I have not planted amaranth in a few years..the first one was from this year…I forgot I added that one picture at the end:-)

    • I have book marked this post Robbie because I know I shall want to refer back to it! Your photos are STUNNING!! You and your camera are just getting better and better! Surely there will be a book in this one day? I am planting up my containers today – we are having glorious weather and it is time to get on with it now that all the partying is over 🙂 I am always happy to see a post from you, but you have absolutely out-done yourself this time. I love what you are doing! xoxo

      • HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAULINE!!!! I left you a “Happy” on your guest post and wanted you to know again—HAPPY DAY TO YOU! You are too kind with your comment:-) I really tried to capture them but those little guys move so fast. and so does everything else around them that it was a challenge to keep my camera still-lol…it makes me feel good to hear others are planting and thinking of our pollinators…I am looking forward to reading all your posts about your new growing area:-) Do share a few of your pollinator visitors in your garden:-) I am enjoying a lovely fall and will soon be reading about you all over the cyber fence with your pretty gardens!

      • Thank you again Robbie – I had such a wonderful week and feel completely happy and ready to spring into the next phase of my life 🙂 I shall try to remember to document the garden as I go – but my skills with the camera are woefully short of yours! xoxo

  4. Robbie, this was fantastic. Your photographs are so striking for the details you were able to capture. I hope more people begin to un-plug and listen to nature. I have my favorite spots where I go daily to just be. It’s gotten to the point that the birds will land and eat from the feeder less than an arms length away because they realize it’s me.

    • 🙂 I know what you mean about them getting closer and closer as we hang out with them daily! They start to trust, birds try to land on me sometimes:-) They think I am a new tree! It is a magical time to just sit and be:-) the best part of the day! I feel blessed that I have a bit of nature out my door + hope others do ,too:-)

      • Robbie, I haven’t been that lucky to have a bird land on me but I’ve had my share of insects that do like grasshoppers and dragonflies. Must be a nice feeling. I hope others have their own spot in nature too I’d be lost without mine.

      • :-)I would be lost,too without mine! I even had two birds fighting with one another rolling around midair when they fell at my feet-lol…crazy!

    • “quintessential nature of these creatures”…:-) beautiful:-) I know they will be the cornerstone of your garden….they are what make the magic happen!

      • There’s a group of dragonflies that swarms in our backyard each evening. Dozens of them. I have no idea what attracts them, as we only have grass and trees at this point, but I love watching their dance outside the kitchen window. It truly is magical!

      • that is magical..I am still working on trying to find them “landing” some place, but I see them always a few feet in front of me, never staying any where too long,they are so beautiful!!!!

  5. Robbie, YOU are one of the great pollinators of the world, too! Without people like you, love and knowledge would shrivel up and we would, too. This was the most beautiful post, of course the photos exceptional (!!!), but the message also. Thank you so much! ❤

    • ditto to you, too Mandy:-) It really is so important that we do take the time to plant a little for our “worker” friends:-) I know your garden is growing!:-)

  6. Lovely to see all your beautiful photos of busy pollinators. I love a pollinator symphony. I tried to record the one in my garden. I could hear it well but ,on the recording device, it was drowned out by the traffic. Bah. 😦

  7. Reblogged this on Wild Pollinator Gardens and commented:
    Here is an excellent post from Palm Rae Urban Potager – even though she is based in the USA many of the point are relevant to pollinator gardening here in Ireland too.

  8. For the first time this summer, I woke up in bed and heard – not birds – but the bees buzzing in my garden! Awesome! I hear the buzz throughout my garden all the time. And the birds, too, of course. I never garden with an iPod or anything. I need to listen to the earth. This is a wonderful post Robbie and a great reminder and suggestion to all! My summer office is my back porch so I still feel connected to the garden even when on my new laptop – a wide garden view, the sounds, the hummingbirds coming and going to the feeders, the chipmunks stuffing their cheeks with peanuts … but right now all I hear is wind – storms here.

    • OUr gardens are right out our doors + the windows when are open it is so lovely the music!Having a summer office on your back porch-perfect!!! I can’t imagine gardening with an ipod, I don’t get that one-lol I ride my bike on the Mississippi River during the spring-fall and I pass people all the time out walking along it with ipods/contraptions glued to their heads. They don’t even hear you when you say ” pass on your left”…I can’t even understand why one would want to wear music when you have nature all around you and the mighty Mississippi River and all her beautiful creatures right at your side…crazy!
      We have been having a lot of rain here…flash floods in some areas-not where I am, but in the Quads.

    • My internet was down for two days and it really was a good thing…makes one realize how we need to unplug! I would say 6 hours was very good:-) I found after 24 hours, I needed to check my mail, but really did explore other things that needed to get done….I don’t have a smart phone, yep…one of the few people in the world. Just I have a reader/notepad + lap top, so I don’t need to be on line with my phone.It really was refreashing to be unplugged for 48!

  9. A post that’s both beautiful and passionate. An anthem to pollinators and a life without pesticides and herbicides.
    It is true that once you think deeply about the cycle of life in the garden, it’s very hard to go back to spraying the heck out of everything. And it makes us think about what we might plant in our gardens.

    • You are so right:-) How can anyone ever go back….It amazes me how many different types of bees, butterflies and other pollinators visit a site once you lay the foundation for them to thrive. It truly is what we all should be doing, in any way we can, where ever we live…the key is just to is so rewarding.

    • They do behave like the evening, I find the bees sleeping under, in or around the petals in the garden. They almost look dead. I then find them early mornings not up yet and some even are still laying asleep until the sun falls upon is crazy. They are very special creatures that many people do not even realize need to be supported:-)

  10. Wonderful Message.. I dropped by from quarteracrelifestyle reblog.. We grow much of our own food, and do not spray any of it.. Among our veggies in the allotment we plant flowers, as well as lots of pollinating flowers around our home garden .. Thankfully we also have several allotment holders who also keep bees… Its such an important message you are spreading.. We have to care for our Bees..

    Love your wonderful photography.. Very detailed and clear.. Many thanks for sharing and you have a lovely Blog here. I have enjoyed my visit.
    Blessing Sue

    • Thank you, Sue:-) Our over the cyber fence community keeps growing + a reblog from a great person as Wendy ( quartacrelifestyle)is one of the best places to meet someone. It is as if we met in her garden one day at a cyber garden party:-)You are so right, it is a message we need to keep spreading:-) + not spraying is a message we also need to keep getting out there for it makes such a difference to their survival. Over the past few years I have been adding more “pollinator friendly plants” and “Host” plants for more butterflies etc. and I am seeing more activity than I have in years past. It is true if you supply what they need, they will bless you with their beauty.

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