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

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's Your Garden

Plant what ever you want.

But, would you please plan(t) for all the critters that live and visit your garden?
Coreopsis 'Redshift'
You'll never bee sorry! They'll thank you for it by hanging around pollinating your flowers and vegetables/fruits and raising offspring that will gobble up harmful insects.
It's your garden, plant what ever you want, but, plant knowing that the more you plant for critters...crawling, flying and even digging ones, the healthier and more diverse your garden will be.
Plant what ever you want, but consider that you might be part of something big going on in your neighborhood.
  Your garden might be a neighborhood haven for all kinds of critters in the midst of a sea of lawns.  
Rudbeckia triloba
Yours might be one of the few gardens that offers pollinating critters nectar and pollen from late winter until late fall; a place for all kinds of critters to raise their offspring; or a stopping off place for water and food (seeds and berries) to migrating birds.
Viburnum rufidulum
It's your garden, plant what ever you want, just take some time to figure out what makes sense for your garden conditions.
 Identifying what grows naturally in your yard, neighborhood or local natural area is a good place to start.
 Notice which plants attract the most pollinators and which ones are just a pretty face.
 Watch to see which seed heads the birds eat first and which ones they never touch.
The Emerald Wavy Lined moth cat (Synchlora aerata) disguised as a decaying petal
Look closely at all the plants to see if any of the flowering plants are hosting a caterpillar or two! Don't forget to check out the trees and shrubs, you might be surprised to learn that many of the woodies are far more important to insects then many other plants.
Invest in a good wildflower book, a field guide to birds and if you're really ready to get to know the critters  your garden could host, purchase a good field guide to butterfly and caterpillars.
It's your garden, plant what ever you want, but, just in case you find yourself standing in the middle of a local nursery and you're wondering what to get, try my favorite trick~ stop and look around, then head straight over to any plants that are being visited by bees, skippers or butterflies.
Ruellia humilis
I know it's your garden and you should plant what ever you want, but, I sure hope you consider planting more native plants.
Verbesina virginica
There's just one other thing I need to say before I go, what ever you plant, your garden will be healthier if you never, ever, ever, ever, ever use pesticides. I mean never!


In case you want to read earlier pollinator posts~

Now Is The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees ( here)
This Is The Place To Bee ( here)
If You Could Plant Only One Plant In Your Garden~Don't (here)
Must Bee The Season of The Witch (here)
Go Bare In Your Garden (here)
We can't All Be Pretty Pollinators (here)
Eye, Eye Skipper, Big Eyed Pollinators (here)
What's In Your Garden (here)
Royalty In The Garden~Monarch Butterfly (here)
Carpenter Bees (here)
Got Wildflowers?(here)
It's Spring and A Gardener's Thoughts Are On Pollinators (here)
The Wildflower and The Bee (here)
A Few Good Reasons To Plant Milkweek (here)
Got Shade? You Can Have Pollinators ( (here)
A Pollinator friendly Shrub (here)
Big Goings On at C and L (here)
Where Have All My Pollinators Gone (here)

Other bee posts you might want to read~

Count Yourself Lucky To Have Hoverflies ( here)
Bumblebee Hotel (here)
Still Taking Care Of Bzzness (here)
My Sweet Embraceable You (here)

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.


  1. Beautiful photos!
    Great gardening advice!
    I have been letting plants grow that at one time I considered to be weeds, and as a result, I'm learning about native wildflowers.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  2. Good advice, dear Gail and gorgeous images!

  3. You must be a pretty persuasive lady to get all those creatures to pose so nicely for you. Great post.

  4. I think there would be more beautiful gardens if everyone planted what YOU liked! :)

  5. Good message! I especially like the idea of standing in the garden center to see which plants the bees and butterflies visit.

  6. I hope everyone in the world reads this post, since it's magnificent and so very important. At some point, I decided I wouldn't water any plant that didn't support wildlife in some way. And there they came. I totally LOVE your beautiful words and pictures.

  7. This post should get the message across, to people all over the world. Try to make room in your garden for native plants. Include a variety of plants, flowers, shrubs, trees and grasses. Include plants that not only attract bee's, but also other insects and birds as well. Include water in your garden. What you are doing by doing this is providing a habitat for local flora and fauna and also helping to preserve the local flora and fauna species. A great post.

  8. Wonderful post, Gail. Of course, I agree. ;-) And I'm so happy that you always add that last bit--it's so important to the greater message.

  9. This is 100% my goal going forward! I have noticed this year that my garden feels void of pollinators. There are a few, but not nearly as many as I would like (and way too many mosquitoes).

  10. Is that a hummingbird moth in the first photo? A fantastic photo! Lots of gardeners in my area have reported sightings of hummingbird moths this fall, and I had the first one ever--that I noticed--visiting my garden last week. There are so many interesting creatures like these that can be found in a garden, if people take your advice. Your lovely garden is proof that a garden can be beautiful and a haven for the critters at the same time!

  11. Gail you do have a way with persuading folks to see what is best for our critters....lovely pics...and if I wasn't already planting natives I would have to give them a try...

  12. I like the way you keep the message positive, Gail! Your photos are awesome, too! I looked up your last flower, because it reminded me of Wild quinine, and found that it's your frost flower. I'm glad you pointed out the cool caterpillar. I wouldn't have noticed it.

    Rose, that's a Hummingbird Clearing Wing moth you were asking about.

  13. Your wildflowers look bigger than what we have here, and the photos are awesome! Previously, i don't like what our garden looks like because of what my mother puts in there, for me a very chaotic look. Later on, i thought it is just a matter of perspective, so i just agreed with it in my consciousness and let it be positive, so called it a biodiversity garden. Eventually, i also plant whatever i see which i know is preferred by the butterflies, even if they are a bit invasive. Now i have subjects also ready to pose for me, haha!

  14. Not only is your garden beneficial to wildlife it is beautiful.

  15. Great pics! We love the message! We call it wildscaping :)

  16. Thank you for the sound advice. I need to remember it next time I am in a garden center where I am usually distracted by something exotic.


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson