A Late Season Garden for Pollinators

Garden of goldenrod and white snakeroot

Right now this garden doesn’t look like much. There was once a magnolia stellata here but it must have reached the end of its useful life because it died abruptly one winter. Its stump is still there, but the vegetation hides it nicely.

When all of this plant life started coming up–because it’s all self-sown–the Spoiler asked me why I wasn’t weeding the garden. Fortunately, I recognized the plants for what they were–goldenrod and a native called white snakeroot (ageratina altissima) so I told him that they weren’t weeds; they were plants.

A weed among the roses–or not

And of course, the distinction is not really all that fine. I came home from my Mom’s memorial service, found a lovely early aster coming up in my rose garden and said with exasperation, “Geez, look at that weed in there.”

I love the asters in the garden with the goldenrod. Among my roses, maybe not so much. But I left it, knowing that the pollinators love it.

It is especially important to have later blooming plants for late migrating butterflies and bees that hibernate locally. Asters and goldenrod are 2 great choices–and contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not contribute to allergies. It is the ragweed which blooms at the same time that causes allergies. So don’t be afraid to plant goldenrod.

It’s also nice to have later blooming perennials so that you are not relying on annuals like mums. There’s nothing wrong with those, but it’s great to have a garden that simply comes up by itself every year, and helps pollinators too.

So perhaps this year consider adding a later blooming plant or two. The pollinators will thank you.

2 thoughts on “A Late Season Garden for Pollinators

  1. tonytomeo June 26, 2021 / 10:33 pm

    Many of the most invasive weed species here were, at one time, planted intentionally as interesting exotic plants. There was not such a distinction back then either.

  2. gardendaze June 27, 2021 / 5:49 am

    Yes, of course that’s true for many of the plants here as well. The most “notorious ” example that I can think of offhand is kudzu, which doesn’t grow here, but I have seen running amok down south. Our version would be oriental bittersweet, I suppose, which doesn’t quite takeover like kudzu does, but which was planted for its beautiful berries (and they are!) but now is so prolific you can spot it from moving cars on the highways and regularly is the cause of our trees coming down in high winds. As if the winds aren’t enough, the weight if the vines just make them top heavy and down they go. It’s crazy.


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