Monday, September 21, 2015

Plant Now for Pollinators

In my last post we made sure our pollinators would have a comfortable place to over winter. Now we need to think about what they are going to eat when they wake up. Having some early bloomers in the garden  encourages bees to stay in our gardens and not fly off to set up home on richer pastures.

Solitary bees prefer crocus over some of our other favourite bulbs. They will often spend the night folded into the petals. When the petals open they have a pollen breakfast before heading out for the day. 

Muscari is another useful bulb. An early bloomer its downward facing flowers are less likely to lose their pollen in the rain. Another benefit is the flower to space ratio-each plant takes up very little room but will accommodate several bees to each stalk.

Although heather is a much bigger plant than muscari it will host a large crowd of bees-think of it as the banqueting hall of the bee world. Red flowering currant is another space grabber but is a pretty plant to have in the spring garden and bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love it.

A couple more plants I'm trying this year are Common Camas, 

C. quamash subsp. maxima

and White Fawn Lily

Erythronium oregonum

Here at the blog we would love you to share your own early bloomer recommendations. Next week I'll be writing about how we can move beyond the boundaries of our own gardens to help pollinators.

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