The Hort Report - July Edition

Photo Credit: Mike White

Planting Perennial Pollinator Gardens

We were going to use the title “Butterfly Gardens” but that wouldn’t be accurate. Once you plant a garden loaded with golden pollen and delectable nectar, you will attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, hoverflies and other animals that all serve as significant cogs in the ecosystem wheel. These insects and birds are attracted to the plant’s sweet nectar and, in turn, leave with a dusting of pollen to carry to the next target, and alas! Pollination!

Tips for Success:

  1. Wind Shelter: A sheltered area will serve our winged workers well as navigation in a windy locale can prove challenging.
  2. The right soil: Any well-drained soil provides a stable foundation for the season long buffet.
  3. SUNSHINE! Sunny areas are best since many of the pollinators are solar-powered and nectar flows more freely powered by the sun’s warmth.
  4. Water: A reservoir of water such as a pond or water feature which over-sprays puddles, enjoyed by butterflies and birds alike, are a welcome addition to any garden.
  5. Host Plants: Adding host plants for caterpillars to devour helps attract even more butterflies to the area as they scrupulously scout for safe places in which to lay eggs.

Gardening for the Seasons

Early Spring:

While patches of snow still linger on the lawn, Snow Drops (Galanthus) are the first harbingers to welcome the masters of all pollination – the honeybee. You will also find them celebrating all over the Crocus blooms. Allium raises their large round colourful heads attracting pollinators for miles around, and Lungwort (Pulmonaria) will satisfy the hummingbirds until you get the feeder out.

 

Spring:

Sweet Honeysuckle is the next star of the show with their fragrance of their blooms wafting through the air. Towering spikes of Lupines and Foxglove welcome bumblebees and honeybees as well as hummingbirds, and we have personally witnessed a battle between a hummingbird and bumblebee over the territory of Penstemon blooms!

 

Summer:

No garden is complete without the fragrant umbels of Swamp Milkweed flowers, which serves as both host and nectar plant for the majestic Monarch butterfly. The next show originates from panicles of Phlox blossoms teeming with the entire gambit of the pollination squad. Butterflies roost on lovely masses of Coneflower followed closely by the golden yellow glow of Rudbeckia.

 

Late Summer:

Lofty heads of Joe Pye Weed provide a late summer feast for gossamer-winged friends and their bumble buddies. Ecstasy is the only word that describes bumblebees rolling in a profusion of Japanese Anemone pollen. The season then culminates in a plethora of Goldenrod plumes and sprays of daisy-like Asters that dispatch Monarch butterflies on their way to their winter paradise in Mexico.

 

Have questions about planting your pollinator garden? Email us at horticulture@cambridgebutterfly.com. Enjoy!

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Searching for Ontario’s only Endangered Butterfly