Last month we explained why it is important to select a range of native flowers that have pollen and nectar available from late March until November. In the Granby Wildlife Meadow, one of the criteria used when selecting wildflowers was to ensure something was in bloom at all times. Pollinating insects such as butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles and flies depend on abundant food. At your property you can take steps to support pollinators. The April issue had suggestions for early and mid-spring. This issue continues with ideas through autumn.
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Small white flowers in the spring and eye-catching red berries in the fall persisting into the winter give this shrub three-season interest. It is dioecious (separate male and female plants), so be sure to plant both for fruit production.
Pussy toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia). A low growing ground cover with gray-green leaves, a velvety texture and furry white flowers resembling cat’s paws.
Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis). The white tubular flowers are attractive to both a wide range of pollinators and humans.
Virginia rose (Rosa virginiana). A native rose with pink blooms that is low maintenance. It has a high wildlife value because of its summer blooms, and is a host plant for caterpillars and rose hips in the fall to feed the birds. Plant this in an area where it has room to spread.
Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Milkweeds are a necessary plant for the monarch butterflies’ lifecycle. The summer eye-catching orange flowers are replaced by seedpods with silky tufted seeds in the fall, wonderful to pluck out and send adrift in the wind.
Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). Purple flowers growing on lavender spikes are a great plant for the gardens. The leaves have a licorice scent making anise hyssop appealing to multiple senses. It will reseed and spread, the better to fill in gaps throughout your property or share with others.
Narrow-leaved mountain mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium). With leaves resembling rosemary and clusters of small white flowers, mountain mint will be abuzz with all sorts of pollinators collecting pollen and nectar.
Hyssop-leaved boneset (Eupatorium hyssopifolium). A branched white flat-topped flower that is perfectly designed to be a spacious landing pad for pollinators. Given the right environmental conditions, this plant will spread, enhancing your garden with more plants.
Gray goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis). No garden should be without goldenrod. Its ecological value is incredible! Pollinators and songbirds benefit when this species with its vibrant yellow flowers is added to your property. This species is a little shorter than other goldenrods and less aggressive in its propensity to spread by seeds and rhizomes.
New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae). Another powerhouse plant that is practically a must to support a wide range of wildlife. This aster has bright purple flowers that make it popular for both people and pollinators. Position this aster in the mid portion of your garden with other plants around its base.
By filling in gaps in the blooms available to pollinators in your garden, you’ll not only support more native wildlife, but you’ll also enjoy a more beautiful garden year-around!