Does it really matter if you grow flowers organically? I mean, after all, you aren’t eating them. My answer is Yes! It does matter! I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned and why it’s important. (Also, there are some flowers our family actually do eat, but that’s just one reason of many to choose organic.) Our family loves flowers. We love growing them and even when we feel limited for space in the sunny parts of our garden and want to grow as much food there as possible, we always prioritize planting flowers everywhere we can. We also feel that the garden we grow is not just for us.
Flowers are such a blessing in the garden, we enjoy their beauty (and sometimes scent), and they add so much joy to the yard, but they are also are a blessing for the bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators. For us, happy bees buzzing around and hummingbirds visiting regularly are a vital part of the magic of the garden, but they also pollinate our plants and make our garden more productive and abundant. The more pollinators you have, the more fruit and vegetables you will have to enjoy.
Most are aware of the plight of bees. From The Bee Conservancy: “Bees lie at the heart of our survival. They pollinate 1 in 3 bites of food we eat and are essential to the health and prosperity of countless ecosystems. However, bees are in peril. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, more than half of North America’s 4,000 native bee species are in decline, with 1 in 4 species at risk of extinction.” Pollinators are one of those magical things in life to be appreciated, and held with the highest reverence, and not to be taken for granted. Whatever we can do to help them and protect them is so important, and making sanctuaries in our own yards is a good place to start.
Most of the time our family plants flowers in our garden from seeds or from bulbs. Jeff used to love picking up flower starts at local nurseries, but in recent years we’ve been more cautious about where we buy them because we learned that many flowers for sale are sprayed with Neonicotinoids, among other pesticides. When I first learned about Neonicotinoids and how toxic they are to insect life, I was so horrified. There are many other toxic pesticides used also, though, and as toxic as they are separately, they are even more toxic when added together. Some accumulate over time, and can get into waterways, killing not only insects and birds, but many other creatures as well.
There are a lot of good articles out there about the different pesticides and why to avoid them, and things we can do to help save bees and other pollinators. As a busy mom, I’m not writing this post to be a full resource of information, but simply to let others know that the flower starts they buy for their gardens could be harming the very pollinators they were seeking to attract.
The next time you go to buy flower starts, please vote with your dollars. Ask about what the flowers are sprayed with and request organic. The more of us who request organic flowers, the more will be available in the future. Our family has sold flowers from time to time over the years and I always label them “organic”, not as a hip marketing scheme, but so that people will know that planting those flowers in their yards will be safe for the bees and pollinators there. The more of us that grow organic flowers in our gardens, the more safe space we will provide in our world for pollinators!