National Pollinator Week (June 22 – 28, 2020) is a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what you can do to protect them. Here are some of the plants in our garden right now that are supporting pollinators.
The flowers of today become the food of tomorrow… If of course pollination occurs. This beautiful bloom only lasts a matter of hours; in that time it needs to draw attention to pollinators. Bees are normally the pollinator for these large blooms, which will, like in the fairy tales, turn into a pumpkin. Found in our Kitchen Garden. This is the first bloom for this plant, hopefully a bee saw this giant bloom… Only time will tell.
One flower that seems to attract a lot of buzz; is the Allium. It has many small flowers in the shape of a globe, with their pollen stuck out to ensure it draws the attention of anyone flying by. There are many varieties of Allium found throughout the gardens at TBG. All of them, from mid Spring to mid Summer, can usually seen with several different types of pollinators, from bees to butterflies. A must have for any garden.
Pollinators come in many shapes and sizes. Not always the usual subjects. Another native; Annual fleabane, (Erigeron annuus), is often seen with different pollinators hanging around. Pollinators are from ants to bees, butterflies to moths, and everything in between. Considered a weed in our gardens; but certainly not to those insects that help pollinate it, so it can continue on for years to come.
Many flowers are perfect suited to attract and invite pollinators in! It also creates the perfect opportunity to take Bee butt photos. Just starting to bloom at the TBG, adjacent to the kitchen garden; Digitalis lutea, or straw foxglove are native to western and southern Europe and North West Africa. A biennial by nature, and quite at home in a partial shaded location, or understory plant. On a hot day, many pollinators stay out of the sun, and visit these beautiful blooms.
We can’t have pollinator week without highlighting Milkweed. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native plant, food source for many pollinators; and host plant for the beloved Monarch Butterfly. There are many different Asclepias, all of which are pollinator magnets. Although the common milkweed can be aggressive in the home garden, there are a few cultivars that are better behaved; including Asclepias tuberosa.
Found throughout the entry garden at the TBG; Tradescantia, commonly known as Spiderwort opens its blooms early in the morning, and closes them by midday making it a pollinator plant for early risers. Visited by many honeybees, there’s always action around these beautiful blooms. These perennials come in several colours, making them a versatile addition to your home garden.