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

Monday, January 31, 2011

If You Could Plant Only One Plant In Your Garden~

Don't


Phlox pilosa dominates and there are other plants for pollinators
Bees and other pollinators need a variety of nectar and pollen producing plants in a garden from early spring to late into the fall.
Phlox pilosa, Senecio aureus and Dodecatheon meadia

The Garden Of Benign Neglect's very own Practically Perfect Pink Phlox pilosa might look like a pink monoculture each spring. It isn't, but, it verged on one during my first gardening years. Now early blooming sedges, penstemons, baptisia, native iris, columbines, Golden Ragwort and spring ephemerals attract pollinating visitors to the garden for the entire growing season.



Keeping the Sunny Susans Bed from becoming a monoculture has been a challenge. Rudbeckia hirta and R fulgida can quickly fill the shallow, clay soil bed with their golden gorgeousness. They spread by root and seed, crowding out the less assertive perennials on their path to total garden domination.
Green Time in the garden

I feel like the adoring mother of the delightful, unruly child, who's running amok at the party. "He did what! Isn't he adorable! I exclaim as I notice that several salvia have been overrun. I love them anyway. Each summer, I wait patiently through the Green Time (mid summer when all is green) for them to bloom and then dance and shout with joy when they finally open their golden petals to the day.

Emerald Wavy Lined Moth cat disguised as a petal
They never fail to attract bees, wasps, flies, bee imitators, butterflies and moths (and their caterpillars) to the garden; they bloom forever; and, they continue to make me smile. But,


I want the garden to be more than a golden sea of Black Eyed Susans. I want it to be a haven for wildlife. So, each spring I edit and weed. Letting the Susans remain growing where nothing else can grow. Over the limestone bedrock that hides a few inches below the soil...Tucking plants that need deeper soil here and there between the Susans. Plants that will survive, plants that support wildlife and plants that make me smile.
Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
Like the Great Blue Lobelia which bloomed all of August. It arrived in a container of Asclepias syriaca. What a happy accident. Now I need more.
'Summer Sorbet' caryopteris
Or, Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Summer Sorbet'. It was an impulse buy....No where was it on my list of must have pollinator plants! I found it on the sale table for a few dollars a plant and six plants came home with me! Enough plants to make an impact. It was an immediate hit with the skippers, butterflies, hover flies and Bumbles. Just what was wanted!


Or, Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Rainbow'; with its wands of delicate flowers.

Or, the dozens of other plants that will provide for visiting pollinators from early spring to late fall.


In my garden that means from February through late November.
Collinsia verna, a native winter annual

I am so glad I don't have to choose just one plant!

xxoogail

This post is part of a series on native pollinators in the garden

Now Is The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees ( here)
Pollinators Come In all Shapes and Sizes (here)

Other posts on pollinators:
This Is The Place To Bee ( here)
Bumblebee Hotel (here)
Still Taking Care Of Bzzness (here)
My Sweet Embraceable You (here)
A Splendid Creature For Your Garden (here)


This post was written by Gail Eichelberger for my blog Clay and Limestone Copyright 2011. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

44 comments:

  1. Gail, Your title totally got me! Loved the direction of your post and your garden - so much more interesting to us and the pollinators to have a wide variety of plants. I can admire a mass planting, but a happy mix is much easier to achieve than a perfect monooculture, and more fun :)

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  2. Gail what a wonderful post...since making sure I have more native plants in my clay garden, I have found more blooming plants all 3 seasons and isn't that a wonderful surprise not only for me but those pollinators!!

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  3. Just yummy, dear Gail, seeing the flowers, green and buzzers! You are so right, we need an assortment for many many reasons. Your photos are ravishing! :-)
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  4. Reading the title I asked myself "how could she ever ask such a cruel question?". I am glad you didn't and thank you for promoting horticultural diversity.

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  5. Hi Gail,

    Lovely post, sometimes it's so easy to forget to use a variety of plants, I know I always find myself sticking to certain colours or types of plant rather than bringing in what's best for the wildlife.
    I've found myself broadening my colour palette purely because of the wildlife; colours such as yellow, orange and red which I wouldn't generally pick up.

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  6. Good Morning Gail, We all need and thrive from a healthy mixed diet! Your bees and butterflies have a paradise to sip from. I just love the feeling of your garden too and it feeds my spirit. Beautiful photographs of your enchanting world. Lovely post!

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  7. Variety is good for everyone and every creature!

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  8. I must admit this isn't a problem I have, Gail--I'm always enticed by new plants that I tend to plant in what Nan Ondra calls "drifts of one":) I'm glad to know that isn't all bad. But it's possible this summer that the Susans may achieve world domination in the butterfly garden, judging by their expansion last year, so I may have to do some editing, too.

    What a gorgeous post this morning; your garden looks so beautiful in every season, it's no wonder the pollinators find it so appealing.

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  9. Beautifully written dear Gail. A garden full of different plants is just what the doctor ordered for pollinators, and so many of yours are native too. I would love to visit you and your garden one day.~~Dee

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  10. Editing is such an important part of gardening. It takes great resolve to pull out healthy, beautiful plants that try so hard to please. Your mix of plants is wonderful.

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  11. Goodness you had me worried there with that title. I was thinking how could I possibly pick JUST ONE! There's no way to place a tree higher than a grass or a flower or a vegetable. Thank goodness nature has room for so many wonderful species and they each have their place in the world.

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  12. What a delightful article, with gorgeous photos as always! I'm so glad I don't have to choose just one plant either. That would be pure torture :)

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  13. It's such a good thing we don't have to pick one. I am like Rose, I need to pick fewer and have more plants in numbers for a greater impact. You have that mastered.
    The Moth cat is certainly disguised well. I might have missed him! Awesome photo. I love that blue Lobelia too. I would be delighted if that showed up here unexpectedly.
    The long shots of your garden are great. I'm drooling over the lanterns in the first photo!! Terrific post Gail.

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  14. You got me Gail! LOL! I thought oh my, how would I ever pick just one flower. I am so glad we need a mixture of pollinating flowers and plants in our gardens and for all seasons. I had to look and look for the moth. Wow does it blend in.

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  15. Like the other commenters, I couldn't pick just one. I love all your wide-view shots with fullness all around. Working toward that still, here.

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  16. I like an exuberant garden too. More fun and food for everyone. Blue-Eyed Mary is a real beauty! When we lived in PA we used to visit a place near Wheeling West VA called Enlow Fork. The river bottom was paved with Blue-Eyed Mary in May.

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  17. So true! And not only are monocultures not good for wildlife, they can be downright boring to look at.

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  18. Hi Gail, Your photos illustrate your prose so well. There is a certain gratification that comes when we're helping wildlife along, don't you think? Loving my PPPP!!

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  19. Wow! Your garden looks amazing - almost unreal, especially in the picture above the lobelia. Thank you for this splash of colour in the middle of winter.

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  20. My brain was scrambling trying to figure out which plant I would have in my garden. I'm glad I don't have to have just one.
    Your photos are so crystal clear. Beautiful post!

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  21. I can almost hear the buzzing! I needed such a beautiful walk today... through gardens of color. Snow flakes falling here as I type.

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  22. Lovely Gail, just lovely. We all need the vast array of color in our gardens.

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  23. Oh, so pretty at this time of year. You have a wildlife haven that is for sure. Love all the pollinator pictures.

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  24. This post makes my heart sing with anticipation. What fun it will be to see all of these bugs buzzing around the garden again. It is difficult to think about it with the threat of an ice storm upon us. I will just have to sit back and think about PPPP. Did I tell you it is staying green this winter. I was so surprised to see this. After all the snow melted there sat the green leaves. It seems to be happy in it spot. Now I can't wait for the bees to find it.

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  25. Such a beautiful reminder of summer and all its bounty! Your pollinators live joyously through the seasons!

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  26. Settling in for a whomping big snowstorm so really enjoyed all this floral bounty!

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  27. When I saw the title I thought oh no Gail is going to ask us tochoose one plant, I cant do that? Not only cant I choose but what about the wildlife so I was thrilled to actually read the post. I love your garden and feel myself moving more and more in this direction away from formality which I find oppressive. I am coverting your blue lobelia alot!

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  28. I totally agree that if we have a garden that has a huge variety of beautiful plants, we'll appreciate it very much! This is indeed an amazing post! Thank you for sharing pictures of your beautiful garden. All the best! :)

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  29. From the title I feared you wanted us to make a choice. Impossible. And all those fabulous photos of flowers and pollinators made it clear the joy to be found in diversity. Beautiful post!

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  30. Choosing one plant is just not an option! There are way too many out there. I'm glad you added caryopteris - it is a great late season pollinator. The bees love it here! Make yourself a few more after you trim it back this spring by sticking the branches in the ground. It's an easy rooter!

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  31. Really nice post, Gail. It is even too difficult to name one favorite, isn't it?? Everything is beautiful over your way, and this is why we ALL work together to promote diversity and host plants for the great variety of animal life. (I'm not purposely inviting the deer, however...) ;-)

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  32. Great Blog Entry. I read the title and did some thinking and then, I scolled down to beautiful gardens with lots and lots of flowers. Gardening for me is like eating chips-you can't eat just one :)
    Thanks for the beautiful photos.

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  33. So far my only spreaders have been weedy spurge, oxalis pes-caprae and the like! lol! Madia too - now I'm introducing common madia which is quite pretty and grows just up the road. - Seeing how the big sticky madia likes it here, I hope their smaller prettier cousins become like your black eyed susans!

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  34. How lovely, dear Gail. Yes, variety is the spice of life!

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  35. That Collinsia is a spring plant for me

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  36. Your garden is so beautiful Gail. It's just not possible to choose one plant. I couldn't, and so glad I don't have to. If everything comes up in our orchard this spring, we should have quite the pollinator buffet (crossing my fingers). The challenge sometimes is keeping the floral variety going year around, especially with our natives that like to sleep through our late dry summers, so we're mixing things up a bit, to strive for uninterrupted blooms. Hopefully our bees will be as happy as yours!

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  37. Hello there Gail girl!
    My favorite picture (of your many gorgeous photographs : ) is the butterfly on the Joe Pye, that warms me up from my toes to my eye brows, haha .. winter storm warning in affect here so I can use that type of pictorial enhancement ? giggle
    Yes!! to plant prices that beg us to take an armful home with us .. I am so waiting to see what will happen with the competition between all of the garden centers here and the new huge Lowes store (the size of the garden center is an eye full) .. fingers crossed I can get myself back into some sort of working order to roam them all, plant hunting with a BIG goofy grin on my face ! haha
    Joy

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  38. I love the full garden shot with the bench. I want to be there right now!

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  39. Your garden is gorgeous, and I am sure the bees and other pollinators enjoy the luscious feast in your garden, instead of the pitiful snack they may get somewhere else!

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  40. Your native-filled garden is a prime example of garden diversity and keeping the pollinators well-fed and happy dear Gail! Wow - that Emerald Wavy Lined Moth caterpillar is an amazing little creature!

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  41. I love the way you garden Gail. I have a long way to go before I have as long a season of interest for the insects as you do, but I am inspired to try harder! Early Spring is my barren time at the moment. I love your lobelia, and that it is such a happy accident.

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who make our souls blossom.


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