Happy solstice! Today marks the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. Perhaps you can go outside this evening and celebrate. I know I will be doing just that.
This week is also Pollinator Week, a celebration that is near and dear to our hearts at Natureworks. Being an organic garden center, we are ALL ABOUT pollinators in every way. We protect and encourage them by our safe gardening practices. We have an insect hotel and have taught many folks how to build them. When you visit here, you will see life in all forms- bees, butterflies, moths, beneficial wasps, hummingbirds… they surround us and benefit from our plants and gardens. Pollinators are in decline and it is our job as caretakers of this beautiful planet to help them. Click here and read my latest handout about this subject and please share it with your friends.
Click Here for Pollinator Decline and Ways to Encourage Habitat
The most common question I get is “What flowers should I plant?”. I have compiled a list of the flowers most visited by pollinators in our CT gardens.
About 75% of our flowers are pollinated by insects and animals (as opposed to wind), but some are much more important sources of pollen and nectar than others. If you have a small yard and are trying to make choices, this list will help you decide. There are trees, weeds, wildflowers, perennials, annuals, bulbs, herbs, and cover crops on the list. Sometimes the plants you would least expect are the most important such as the early flowers of our native maple trees.
Click Here for Pollinator Flowers
Finally, you cannot ignore the use of toxic chemicals and the effect that they have on pollinator populations. You will read in the Pollinator handout
that methods you use like leaving areas wild, not mowing parks and roadsides, and leaving stems up over the winter all help. But avoiding toxic poisons is the most important first step.
Click Here to learn why you should avoid Neonics in your Garden
2017 Pollinator Week June 19-25, 2017
If you go to the Pollinator Partnership website www.pollinator.org you will see TONS of really valuable, important information about the plight of our pollinators and how so many organizations are joining together to make a difference. You can even join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge! Together we can help the pollinators to feed the world.
Thursday evening’s Facebook Live at 5:30 pm will focus on what you can do to prepare your garden for the monarchs. Tune in and ask questions. This Saturday we will set up a great display to teach you about our pollinators. There is no official morning walk as we will be hosting The Hardy Plant Society for a garden walk and potluck lunch at 11:30. On Sunday, Diane will give a free workshop All About the Monarch Butterfly at 1 pm. We already have over 30 monarchs growing in the shop. It’s truly amazing to witness. You can raise them or host them too!
To celebrate the start of summer and our pollinators, we have restocked our benches with TONS of new plants. It is amazing the diversity that we carry, all to insure that there will color as well as pollen and nectar available every single week of the growing season. The solstice seems to mark many firsts.
Zinnias LOVE to be planted now. We have plants AND seeds. Seeds come up in 3 days!
I ate my first raspberries and saw my first roadside daylilies in bloom. As we begin deadheading the spring bloomers, a whole new range of plants are coming into flower- Echinacea, Penstemon, summer Spireas, and Astilbes are all blooming in our gardens and on our benches. In the vegetable garden, the lettuce and spinach are finishing up and seeds of warm-loving cucumbers, summer squashes, beans, and zinnias are being planted. Its a gift that the new moon is Friday and this coming weekend is the ideal time to plant above ground annuals according the our moon calendar.
‘Flamingo Fantasy’ is one of our very first daylilies to bloom. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all coming into their own now that summer is here. We have plenty of all of these easy to grow small fruits that you can plant in your yard OR in containers. Bushel and Berry is a great brand for dwarf fruit plants bred to do well in containers, Smart Pots, on patios, and in small spaces. I don’t net my fruit plants, simply because I have so many that I am willing to share with the birds. I graze in the garden, picking ripe fruit every morning and leave a small bowl for my husband to put on his cereal. This is one of the best parts of the good old summertime. We have both red and yellow raspberries in stock. Yellow ones are sweeter than you could ever imagine! And don’t forget to add edible figs and elderberries to your fruit lineup. They make for a very productive, well rounded fruit harvest as the summer progresses.
JUST KEEP PLANTING! The vegetable seedlings are now HALF PRICE- I know you can fit a few more tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants in somewhere. Plant seeds all summer long. Keep adding herbs such as unusual varieties of basil or perhaps some lemongrass or stevia. Don’t forget to include edible flowers such as borage, nasturtiums, calendulas, and ‘Lemon Gem’ marigolds. They not only attract the pollinators, they make your salads look incredible. And pack your gardens full of flowers. Our new motto is “more plants less mulch”. The more flowers, the more pollinators. The more flowers, the less room for weeds. The less room for weeds, the less work for you and the less you spend on mulch. To me an empty space=an opportunity to plant something.
Stop in and celebrate summer and our precious pollinators this week at Natureworks. I hope to see you soon…