Flowers bring us gorgeous color and magnificent fragrance. But did you ever wonder why?
Beautiful petals and lovely smells are nature's way of making sure that flowers keep on blooming – in other words, that they reproduce. Another natural treat we humans get to appreciate and enjoy.
As the bee or bird consumes the plant's nectar, some of the flower's pollen rubs off on the visitor's body. Needing more food, the bird or bee flies away and finds another flower. The pollen from the previous plant is deposited on the new blossom, thus cross-pollinating the plants. The pollen from the stamen (a male reproductive part) is exposed to the pistil (a female part) in order to create a new seed.
Rich contrasts and subtle differences in shade and scent distinguish flower varieties and ensure that pollinators keep visiting. For example, snapdragons are more fragrant during the day when bees are active. Conversely, stargazer lilies are fragrant at night because they are likely to be visited by moths. Also, flowers that bloom at night tend to be less colorful.
Flowers grown in warmer temperatures tend to have more intense fragrances than blooms from cooler climates. Generally speaking, the brighter the bloom and the stronger the scent, the more attention the flower will receive.
Butterfly gardens can planted inside a window box or as part of your yard. You will attract butterflies throughout the growing season, if you plant the types of plants and flowers that butterflies love to feed on and lay eggs on. First, you will need to research which kinds of butterflies are native to where you live. An excellent article can be found at "Butterfly Gardening by Area". Make a list of all of the different kinds of native butterflies that you would like to attract and the specific flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on. Adult butterflies will visit for a longer period if they find "host plants" to lay their eggs on. Learn more at "Butterfly Host Plants."