Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday: Embrace imperfection in your garden!

That's what I've done!

When you commit to a pesticide free garden you have to be prepared for chewed on petals and foliage.

Are you ready to embrace imperfection?
You won't be sorry when you do.  Bees, butterflies, skippers, beetles and hoverflies will move into your garden. It will be alive with critters.
Your garden will not be magazine perfect, but, pollinators don't care if your flower petals are chewed on.  They need flowers bursting with pollen and nectar. Your garden will be teeming with life. Spiders will build webs; the beneficial insects will keep aphids in check; pollinators will pollinate; and, birds will hunt the insects.

It will be a beautiful imperfect garden, just as it's supposed to be.
When you let go of pesticides and embrace imperfection you become the change our world needs.

  • You can help create a paradigm shift that redefines garden beauty to include imperfection.
  • You can refuse to be shamed or swayed by the judgement of perfection worshipers.
  • You can say no to pesticides that poison flowers and kill our important garden visitors.
  • You can let nursery managers know that you don't need or expect them to offer "perfect plants" that have pretreated with insecticides.

You just have to do it!


If we all work together, we can become the change our world needs.
xoxogail

Welcome to Wildflower Wednesday. It's the fourth Wednesday of each month and time to celebrate wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. When I walked around the garden planning for WW, I noticed that several coneflowers had been chewed on by insects. It seemed an opportune time to  encourage my fellow wildflower enthusiasts to embrace the beauty of a pesticide free garden's imperfection. All the coneflowers shown (Echinacea tennesseensis, E purpurea and Echinacea cultivars including 'Ruby Star', 'Magnus', and 'Prairie Splendor') are imperfect beauties. Not only have they been chewed on by critters, their offspring are different looking with their petals poking every which way.  It happens~plants get chewed on and offspring are not true! Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

Please add your url to Mr Linky and leave a comment.



Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day-June 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with a nod to our pollinator friends for Pollinator Week!
Butterflyweed/Asclepias tuberosa

Consolida ambigua

Hypericum frondosum
Hydrangea arborescens 'Ryan Gainey'
Verbena bonariensis
Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem'

Just a few of the beauties in my garden that are beloved of the pollinators. Thank you for stopping by!

xoxogail

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the blogosphere celebrate their blooms, so pop on over to Carol's and take the Mr Linky magic carpet ride to see what's blooming.


Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pollinator Week: Xylocopa virginica

 Pollinator Week  has been proclaimed throughout the land! Here to help us celebrate is one of my favorite pollinators, the Eastern carpenter bee.


Five interesting facts about this gentle giant.

1. These big beautiful, noisy bees are excellent pollinators. In fact, they are being studied across the globe for pollinating green house crops like passionflower, blueberries, greenhouse tomatoes and greenhouse melons.


2. They are generalist foragers and are known to pollinate garden crops and garden plants. Like eggplant (Solanum melongena), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) and other species in that genus, cucurbits (Cucurbita spp.), cassias (Cassia spp.), Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens), cigar orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum), bee balm (Monarda spp.), aromatic sumac (Rhus aromatica), and wild lupine (Lupinus perennis).

 
cheating pollination!

3. They are buzz pollinators - meaning they use vibrations, or sonication, to release pollen grains from the flower's anthers. To release pollen carpenter bees are able to grab onto the flower and move their flight muscles rapidly, causing the flower and anthers to vibrate, dislodging pollen. About 8% of the flowers of the world are primarily pollinated using buzz pollination. Wildflower gardeners~all Dodecatheon are buzz pollinated! Eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, blueberries and cranberries are also buzz pollinated.

large open faced flowers rich in pollen and/or nectar are favorites
4. They typically visit flowers that have large, open-faces with abundant nectar and pollen; bloom during the day; are pale or saturated in color; have a fresh odor; anthers specialized for pollen collection by bees; and corollas with strong walls.

5. They are nectar robbers and cheat the pollination process by breaking open the sides of flowers, like salvias and penstemons to get at the nectar! 

Bonus info. The menacing/dive bombing carpenter bee you encounter is only protecting a nest. It's a male drone and he's all buzz and no sting!

There's probably no other bee that arouses irritation quite like this gentle giant. Just search "carpenter bee" and you will get hundreds of thousands of 'results' and almost all are about how to get rid of them.

They're very cool critters even if when they tunnel into your deck/front porch/garage and I love them even though they have tunneled into my front porch deck! They are now nesting in several large cedar stumps that I have placed around the yard....YIPPEE!

Happy Pollinator Week where ever you garden!xoxogail

PS In case you need a reminder! Please, never, ever, ever, ever, ever use pesticides in your garden. The pollinators will thank you by taking up residence and pollinating your fruits, vegetables and flowers!

 Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

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