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June 12, 2016

Pollinator Week–Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Bee Pollinators!

We have always enjoyed planting flowers that attract beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds, and now with the concern turned toward our treasured pollinators, the bees, we are planting things that bees really enjoy too.

Miner bee close-up

We have always enjoyed planting flowers that attract beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds, and now with the concern turned toward our treasured pollinators, the bees, we are planting things that bees really enjoy too. Many of the perennial flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds are also great pollinators for bees.

These garden friends that we are creating an environment for need both pollen and nectar. Nectar is the sweet fluid produced by flowers.  Nectar is their source of energy.  Pollen is the dust-like particle that is for fertilizing plants to produce seeds (tasty almonds are a most popular seed that is pollinated by bees, for example). Pollen is extra special in that it is the main source of protein for bees. Bees feed their young with pollen and it also helps in the building of the honeycomb.

You can create a perennial garden full of plants bursting with pollen throughout the different seasons. Early spring pollen producers include Agastache(hyssop), Nepata, dianthus and geraniums(crainsbill). Mid-season plants that will feed the active pollinators are Asclepias (butterfly flower), Coneflower, Black eyed Susan and Liatris.

Fall is an important time for pollinators to feed. What pollen is stored and consumed during the fall will help with survival throughout the winter.  My two favorites are Sedum and Asters. Plant more of these and we will have healthier bees.

Keep it simple and add a few of the pollen and nectar rich plants and you will be doing nature a favor as well as creating a garden that you can enjoy all season

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