Celebrating Pollinators~The Keystone of our Gardens
This week is National Pollinator Week. A week to celebrate all pollinators and their vital role in our ecosystems. This year I decided to share some of our native plants and native hybrids that attract and support bees, butterflies, beetles, flies, birds, moths, and ants in our garden.
|Blanket flower, butterfly weed, hypericum, golden alexander, passiflora incarnata|
As our garden has evolved I have endeavored to plant communities that are not only appealing to the eye but service the pollinators so (1) they don't have to travel to another garden seeking nectar sources and (2) provide bloom sequences to keep them in our garden throughout the year.
Here is a hot color combo that makes an impact and attracts bees and butterflies. Blanket flowers are low growing and easy for smaller butterflies and bees to access. Butterfly weed provides some height and brings in bigger butterflies in the swallowtail family and the monarchs.
|blanket flower with butterfly weed|
Another delightful combination is the pastel colors of yarrow, echinacea and buttonbush. In addition to the vibrant color, this combo offers texture. The shape of the cones on the echinacea are echoed in button bush flowers. These blooms attract an array of bees and butterflies.
|Cephalanthus occidentalis, Echinacea, Achillea|
If you have the right conditions (moist to wet/sunny) Cephalanthus occidentalis is essential for a pollinator garden. (Read more: Bodacious Button Bush).
|Eastern Tiger Swallowtails enjoying Buttonbush blooms|
The tall and bold rudbeckia maxima is a ravishing addition to a wildflower garden, naturalized area or cottage garden. The big blue basal leaves are attractive unto themselves but when the giant stalks rise up and tower over the surrounding plants, in my case monarda, goldenrod 'fireworks' and Georgia aster, it becomes a real conversation piece. The tall cones attract butterflies and later in the autumn, goldfinches will land on the tall stalks to forage seeds.
This dramatic coneflower is in a class of its own and in my opinion not seen in gardens enough. Wouldn't they make lovely cut flowers too! But maybe its most endearing feature is that deer don't like them.
|the developing blooms of Rudbeckia maxima|
Vines are a fabulous way to get even more gardening real estate by growing your garden vertically. Tubular blooms like this clematis texensis are enjoyed by our hummingbirds while adding striking color and shape to move your eye upward.
|Clematis texensis 'Princess Diana'|
|star shaped blooms of Angularfruit milkvine|
Passiflora incarnata is a staple vine in our garden. It serves as host plant for the Gulf and Variegated Fritillary butterflies. The showy flowers provide nectar for the adult butterflies but are also adored by carpenter bees, who often get so drunk on the nectar they roll off the blooms.
|Gulf Fritillary butterfly on passiflora incarnta bloom|
Blooming in June is Rudbeckia hirta, Hyssop, Partridge Pea, Bergamot, Yellow Coneflower and Switch Grass. The lavendar blooms of Bergamot are faithfully visited by our hummingbirds, day flying moths and bees. Switch grass has quickly become a favorite of mine. It is an attractive companion to most wildflowers and its stiff stems standup well, especially in winter, and provide a dense cover for wildlife.
|Bergamot with Switch Grass|
|bumblebee visiting Partridge Pea|
Wildflower meadow with partridge pea & rudbeckia