Planting for Pollinators

I’ve done a lot of posting over the last week or two about what I’m planting–my herbs, both for me and for the pollinators, the annuals in the herbs garden, my indoor succulent corner (which no pollinators can get to, of course, unless they accidentally get inside the screened porch–and why would they want to?

As I was thinking back over this and thinking forward to Pollinator Week, which occurs this year June 17-23, I realized that for all my talk about native plants, I hadn’t planted any native plants.

Is this a catastrophe? No. I already have a lot of native plants in my yard. But as someone who talks a lot about native plants, I do like to add them when I can.

But one thing I didn’t do this year was add any trees, shrubs or perennials–the sorts of plants that are native plants. So that’s why no natives this season.

So should I consider my whole season a loss? I guess that depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This season, I am lucky that I can get a little gardening in. I am hoping to be able to harvest just a few tomatoes and some green beans–and to have some fresh herbs to cook with.

I’d like a few pretty flowers to look at and I have chosen those flowers with pollinators in mind. In the past, I have seen both hummingbirds and sphinx moths on impatiens so I chose those for a semi-shaded spot.

For the sunnier spots, I chose annuals in colors of blue and yellow, primarily to attract bees and butterflies. One of the containers has some lantana, which I know the butterflies in my area love.

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My earlier spring container, which was a Wordless Wednesday photo, was violets and alyssum. I have watched honeybees and smaller bees on that until I moved it to a shadier spot where I don’t get to observe it so readily.

So I am not feeling too sad about the gardening season so far. I am just hoping that the deer don’t eat the green beans, as they have in some years. Time will tell!

Succulent Corner

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One of the first things that you might notice is that I have tagged this post “house plants.” That’s not because succulents aren’t hardy for me: it’s just that I have very poor clay soil. And nature has been over-performing in the moisture area in the last couple of years so succulents are not something that I try to grow in the ground very often.

In fact, about the only place that I can grow them is where the bedrock juts out of our yard. I have some success growing succulents on the rock face of that stone. This is what that looks like.

But for the most part, I keep my succulents indoors, although they do migrate out to the sun porch for a “summer” vacation.

After all, even plants should enjoy the little bit of summer that we get here in the frozen north.

Memorial Day is for Planting

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This is my “vegetable” garden, the garden that I traditionally plant on Memorial Day. The only problem, which I simply never foresaw 10 years ago when I sited this bed, is that the magnolia nearby would grow so enormous! So now it only gets about a half day’s worth of sun. It’s still fine for most things–green beans, some herbs and annuals–but I can’t really get a good crop of tomatoes out of it. So I do those in pots.

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This was the cover crop–pine needles from my abundant pine trees. Since nature doesn’t like uncovered soil, I leave the pine needles there over the winter and then compost them when I am ready to plant in the spring.

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And here’s the garden, mostly planted with herbs (parsley and dill for the pollinators along with the existing lemon balm, sage, chives, thyme, and tarragon), dianthus, marigolds and celosia (which have proven to be surprising bee magnets in the past!) and that large open area is for the pole bean tower yet to come!

I’m all ready for summer to begin!

Herb Garden

Door yard herb garden
Door yard herb garden

I grow a lot of herbs. I grow herbs in the garden that I call my “wildlife garden.” These have been there for years and while I probably could eat them, I don’t–I just leave them there to flower and attract pollinators. (It also makes a difference that this garden is over half an acre from the house).

I also grow them in a garden that I’ll show you on Monday–but despite the fact that it’s primarily my vegetable and herb garden, I grow those too for pollinators. If I need something special that I have out there–like sage or tarragon–I might go out and get some, but for the most part, those herbs are there for our pollinators. They need them more than I do.

But these herbs are for me. As you can see, they’re just outside my door. And this porch is just off my kitchen and breakfast room. So this is a very convenient set up. Do I mind if the pollinators visit? Of course not, although I try not to let these flower.

I have 3 kinds of basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, the bay plant that some of you may remember from my over-wintered “polar Vortex ” post and the mint plant from that same post. The other over-wintered herbs have been planted out in the garden you’ll see on Monday. I want the freshest herbs here.

But if a swallowtail butterfly finds the parsley that’s here, you can be sure that the caterpillar can have it! In my gardens, pollinators win every time!

Re-Cycling

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Trash? Or someone else’s treasure? For a couple of years now the Spoiler has been whining that my flower pots were taking over his garage–and it is his garage. I have to park outside, under the old trees, even in snowstorms, because he has more vehicles and accoutrements than our garage will accommodate. But that isn’t the topic of this post.

So after moving the house plants and deciding that I really did have far more pots than I would ever use again, I agreed that we could put them out for the neighborhood version of free cycling. What you see is about half of what’s left.

At least I know that they will go to good homes. Presumably you don’t stop for flower pots unless you need them.