We’ve got a mystery on our hands. Honeybees, native bees and some wasps, even butterflies like the migrating monarchs are disappearing. Aside from the beauty and wonder these marvelous insects provide, they are one of the most important links in the food chain. They and many other insects are pollinators. Without them there is no food.

Not only would there be no vegetables, nor fruits nor flowers, but even food for livestock would be threatened without pollinators. Talk about the tide changing. It was not long ago that folks were asking what things to plant that did not attract bees. Now the reverse is true. One of the solutions to the mystery of pollinator decline is to provide food and habitat with blooming plants.

Pollinators are a diverse group of invertebrates. The Home Garden Seed Association, inspired by the conservation work of the Xerces Society, encourages all home gardeners to help the cause of pollinator production planting more flowers, an important source for all kinds of bees and butterflies. Every flower border, bed and windowbox helps.

Useful facts about pollinators and flowers:

• Flowers clustered in clumps of at least four feet in diameter are more attractive to pollinators than scattered individual flowers.

• A succession of flowering plants that lasts from spring through fall will support a range of bee species.

• Flowers of different shapes will attract different types of pollinators.

• Pesticides are a major threat to insect pollinators.

• The value in dollars of pollinators’ services to our food business is estimated to be more than $4 billion.

Visit bringbackthepollinators.org and sign the Pollinator Protection Pledge and order a Pollinator Habitat sign for the garden. Flowering trees are a springtime boost for pollinators in this area. Now is the time to start a pollinator garden. Flowering annuals are easily and inexpensively grown from seed. Sunflowers, agastache, herbs and marigolds supplement late-blooming perennials, sustaining pollinators into the fall.

Bee and butterfly plants to grow from seed:

• Early-blooming choices: agrostemma, baby blue eyes, bishop’s flower, California poppy, cerinthe, chives, clarkia, clover, dianthus, larkspur, lupine, mustards, opetospermum, parsley, peas, poppies, sweet Alyssum, viola and wallflowers

• Mid-season pollinator plants: anise hyssop, bachelor’s button, basil, black-eyed Susan, blanketflower, borage, butterfly flower, calendula, cilantro, coneflower, cosmos, dill, feverfew, foxglove, lavender, lovage, monarda, portulaca, squash/pumpkin, thyme, tickseed coreopsis

• Late-blooming pollinator plants: agastache, amaranth, cleome, dahlia, marigold, Mexican sunflower, salvia, scabiosa, sunflower and zinnia

Imagine, one of the most vexing environmental problems around solved with flowers! It has to be one of the prettiest of solutions ever. So nix those pesticides. Just plant flowers, and waltz through the coming months surrounded by blossoms.

Lynette L. Walther is the recipient of the Garden Writers Association’s Silver Award of Achievement. She is a member of the Garden Writers Association, and she gardens in Camden. Got questions, or comments? Visit her blog, and join in the conversation at: gardeningonthego.wordpress.com or friend her on Facebook.