Hybridization of plants to suit the whims of gardeners has resulted in the proliferation of plants that lack both the nectar and pollen necessary for bees and butterflies. Add to this the catastrophic impact of genetically modified crops, herbicides, and pesticides, and we are today faced with a global food crisis that, if not corrected, will not only result in widespread famine but also the loss of fruit, vegetable, and nuts for consumption by humans and others, leaving us to forage on grains.
What we can do to reverse recent trends is to plant flowers that are high in the nutrients needed by our pollinators and to plan this activity so that there is steady flowering and therefore constant availability of flowers from very early in the season until late into fall and even winter. To the extent possible, it is better to use heirloom varieties or native species because these would be favored by our hard working bees and gorgeous butterflies.
Be sure to put water near the plants so the pollinators have enough to drink and make sure the water is not too deep or treacherous so that the butterflies have safe places to land while drinking. Do not water the flowers themselves, but supply the water the plants need at the base of the plant, near the soil.