Planting for Pollinators

Annual container

Today begins Pollinator Week, a week devoted to the plight of declining Pollinators in the United States. You can find out more at, and see some neat posters and other things on offer (if they are still available).

Generally accepted wisdom is that native plants are best for pollinators. I don’t disagree. However, since I just lost many of my native hollies (while interestingly my non-natives survived the drought just fine. So much for the idea that natives are adaptable to climate change–at least in my yard!) I am kind of holding off on replanting anything right now while I see what’s what.

But of course I still want a little color for the summer.

So I have noticed that the bees are loving this purple verbena.

And of course our lawn has plenty of clover for them to enjoy as well.

They are also enjoying my flowering herbs, particularly the oregano, lavender and chives.

So yes, I still do love native plants–so long as they survive in my yard. Friday I will post about my late season garden for pollinators.

We have to try to do what we can when we can–at least I think so.


Swallowtail caterpillar

To paraphrase the old movie saying, if you plant it, they will come. This caterpillar managed to find the container of parsley that I have outside our door–the one that I really planted for cooking purposes.

Oh well, no matter. Anyone who has been reading for awhile knows that I would never begrudge a plant to hungry larva, especially butterfly larva.

And there’s more parsley in my herb garden if I need it, if the rabbits don’t find it first.

But that is what gardening is about: the challenge, sometimes literally, of growing your own food with these competing interests. You can stress, you can be grateful you’re not doing it for a living (or needing to survive on this through the winter without the benefit of a local grocery store), or you can be grateful there will be one more butterfly because of your container of parsley.

I will take the butterfly.

Another look

Rose Time

Roses by mailbox

I came home from the hospital to discover that I had completely missed my peonies this year but that’s okay because the roses are putting on such a glorious show that it’s hard to be disappointed.

Closer view
Another view

The decaying bulb foliage is for the colchicums that will be back in September.

A different garden
And yet more!

So it’s hard to be sad about missing the peonies.

Let’s not talk about the weeds, however.

There’s a Drought Where?

Dead ilex glabra

This is a slightly different photo from Wednesday because now I am intentionally showing the dead inkberry holly. It’s one of 2 on our property that has yet to be removed. I have lost track of what we have already removed.

All of the is carnage from last year’s severe drought here in the Northeast. I am willing to bet that unless you lived it, you were unaware of it. That’s surely understandable with the events of the past year–but did you hear about the multi-year drought from 2014-2016?

It seems that unless drought occurs in a farming state, it rarely makes news. And while I certainly don’t want any more negative news in the news cycle, it might be useful for national news outlets to cover drought whenever and wherever it occurs.

The same goes for wildfires. I wonder how many of my United States readers heard about the major US wildfires in New Jersey and Massachusetts in the last 2 weeks? Why is this happening? Well, gee, it’s dry again and windy. Has anyone heard about this?

Homes were evacuated in New Jersey too. The fire was along a major roadway, in a state forest, and caused evacuations. Luckily it is out, the homes were saved and no one was injured.

Again, with a 24 hour news cycle, there surely ought to be time for more coverage of this. It would let people know that events like these are no longer regional–sadly. And once people understand that, they might understand more about what is happening to the planet.

Careful About That Pruning

Kolkwitzia amabilis Dream Catcher

This shrub is so large that it literally is taking over the garden. It’s totally my fault. It’s exactly what I talk about when I lecture. One of the things that I always remind people is that we often fail to envision what a mature tree or shrub will look like–or, as I say colloquially, “remember, 6′ tall is bigger than me!”

Well, I always fail to plan for mature plant size, because nothing is ever happy in my horrible wet clay soil so it is a rare plant that achieves its full size. This kolkwitzia is such a rare plant.

And while it is just glorious this time of year when it’s a glowing wall of flowers, if you notice at the base, it is completely obscuring my lovely flowering quinces. Sigh. My bad.

A neighbor’s kolkwitzia

But at least I didn’t do this–pruning at the wrong time so that I cut off most of this year’s bloom. There are actually 2 of these. It’s sad to see.

In this neighbor’s defense, perhaps these shrubs were damaged by wind or heavy snow or something. But I walk this way pretty regularly and I don’t recall that. I am going to stick with the original “pruned at the wrong time theory. “

I suspect it won’t happen next year, knowing these neighbors. As for me, my lack of vision will persist, sadly.

Summer Home

Lake view–what a difference!

Clearly the plants have gone on their summer vacation. These are how my windows now look from the inside.

The “before ” photo

In this photo, you see a bit of staging for the plants.

“After” photo

And here they are on summer vacation. I never realized that most of my plants–even those that are in East or West windows when they are inside–really want shade outside. That’s why most are all crowded together here under this old dogwood tree.

Sun plants

Here are the sun lovers. They are citrus and croton, for the most part, with a few others thrown in.

Herb corner

And here are the herbs, both tender ones like basil that I plant new every year, bay and tender rosemary and lavender that I overwinter, and a few evergreens that winter on my sun porch.

Behind that, in the window of the sun porch, the succulents are just barely visible. They don’t come outside because of uncertain watering. I can’t control nature.

The plants are all set for summer. Now I have to do the same for me!

Moving Day

Succulent window

As I am fond of saying, we only have two seasons here in Connecticut, winter and July.

House plants

As you can see, most of my windows are obscured most of the time by plants. Twice a year, I have the great plant migration where almost everything goes outside in the spring–and then it returns to the windows around Labor Day.

Because “July “–aka house plant suitable temperature–came a little early this year, this weekend was the great migration.

Lake view–sans plants anyway

And because I need to take a 3 week road trip in June, I need to move more of these plants than usual so that the Spoiler can attempt to care for them. It’s going to be interesting.

Second lake view

At least he might have a fighting chance if I can get these grouped by watering preference. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.