Monday, September 19, 2016

At home in the (mostly) native pollinator garden

I refer to the gardens that I have planted at schools as Native Pollinator Gardens for two reasons.  First, they contain only native plants.  Second, the plants in the gardens were selected to attracts native pollinators such as butterflies, mason and leafcutter bees, bumble bees, and more.

Our garden at home is a (mostly) native pollinator garden.  Not every plant in the garden is native - maybe 70% is native, the rest are not.  Some of the plants were already here when we bought the house (hostas, irises, grape hyacinth, Siberian Squill), others we planted because they filled a need (Japanese maples in front of the house replaced Rose of Sharon and Boxwood), and some we planted just because we like them (tulips!).

The star of the show remains the native plants, especially this time of year.  Our garden is currently full of asters and goldenrods.  The pollinators love them.  Yesterday afternoon while the sun was shining, the number of wild honeybees in our yard probably numbered at least 200 at any given time; bumblebees numbered as many as two dozen at once.  Add in the flies, beetles, butterflies, and the sphinx moth that was buzzing around just before dark and it was a very busy place.

False Solomon's Seal berries

Big-leaf Aster

Three-lobed Coneflower takes front and center

The garden is a certified Monarch Waystation

Honey bees (and a fly) on Cut-leaved Coneflower

New England Asters - the current star of the show

Bumblebee on a Stiff Goldenrod

Shades of purple and gold

The garden is reaching outside its borders into the lawn

Zigzag Goldenrod guards the front steps

Violets and Maidenhair Fern

Zigzag Goldenrod

No room! Go away!

Give me some sugar, little honey bee!

Honeybee and Spotted Cucumber Beetle on New England Aster

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