Pollinator Gardening

Sunflowers for Bees, Song Birds, and Garden Splendor

Honeybees and native bees rely on sunflowers for pollen and nectar.
Annual sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are pure floral gold. Their immense blooms have an almost storybook quality. They track the sun, creating a glowing warm basin of golden pollen and sweet nectar to draw bees and butterflies. Abundant oil-rich seed heads follow, feeding both wildlife and humans. For Native Americans, sunflowers symbolized courage and were cultivated as […]

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Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch on tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). (Image by Jessie Keith)
Over the last several years, I have become more aware of growing plants in my garden that are friendly to birds, bees, and butterflies. Plants to attract butterflies, especially monarch butterflies, are especially of interest. At one time, monarch butterflies were often seen here in the Pacific Northwest, but not anymore. Dwindling habitat and food sources have resulted in […]

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Top 10 Water-Wise Container Garden Plants

Proven Winner’s Good Morning Sunshine is a cool-colored, textural container garden recipe custom made for hot, dry weather.
No matter where you live, you can always count on bouts of hot, dry summer weather. That’s why it’s smart to fill your outdoor containers with drought-tolerant flowers and foliage plants. Sure, you can always water heavily and fill your pots with water-holding potting soil, but […]

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5 Big, Beautiful Wildflowers for Dry Western Gardens

This relative of hollyhock loves growing along the dry edges of cactus and succulent gardens.
The American Southwest is rich in wildflowers, and a few have proved to be exceptional choices for arid gardens.  When wildflowers perform well and are beautiful, they are ideal candidates for home landscapes filled with existing drought resistant plants.  They also make exceptional problem solvers in desert gardens of cacti, succulents, and rocks where many […]

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Blooms in the Ice: The Joy of Late Winter Bulbs

IMG_3043Winter aconite and snowdrops blanket a forest floor in February. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Here in the Pacific Northwest, this past November and early December were very warm and mild.  My tropical red-leaf bananas did not die until a hard freeze shortly before Christmas (almost unheard of), and many gardeners had summer- and fall-blooming plants still in flower.  Neighbors showed me their 3-4 inch spring daffodils that […]

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DIY: Homemade Seeded Paper Garden Cards

CArdsSunflower seed circle and herb garden seeded homemade cards are shown. We made gift tags with the extra seed paper!
Making homemade paper is fun and easy to turn into seeded holiday gift cards with garden themes. Simply add a few dried petals to the paper pulp, sprinkle in designer compositions of garden seeds, and you have holiday grow-your-own-garden cards. These useful, impressive cards are […]

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Salvias for Fall-Migrating Hummingbirds

habitSalvia greggii (autumn sage) (photo by Maureen Gilmer)
Hummingbirds rely on the nectar of many fall-blooming salvias to assist in their late-season migration. The striking beauty, bright colors, and architectural statures of these plants also make them great for the garden. Most cultivated salvias are from Mexico and the Southwest United States, which is why pollinators migrating south are attracted to them. Their relationship is […]

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Preparing the Garden for a Hot Summer

Lantana, colorsAn excellent summer bloomer for heat is Lantana camera.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had record high temperatures already this spring. When the temperature is 100° F in spring, it is HOT!  Not that our weather pattern is ever predictable, but this year it seems to be even less consistent. With our mild winter temperatures, record rain, and a summer forecast as being hot and dry, our plants may suffer without […]

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Garden Flowers for Hummingbirds

hummingbird with salviaA hummingbird with Salvia ‘Amistad’.
 
If there was one pollinator I would like to attract to my garden, it would be the hummingbird. It is such a fascinating bird to watch as it zooms from flower to flower and reveals its characteristic of being quite territorial. For many years, I have planted containers of Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ on our deck because this plant is a hummingbird magnet. Several years ago I tried Salvia […]

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Tender Perennials for Pacific NW Gardens

Lantana, colorsLantana camara
It is hard to believe that it is already March and soon spring will be official.  We’ve had a relatively mild winter and I cannot remember when we’ve had so few frosts.  Like many other gardeners, I always have some tender perennial container plants that need winter protection, and I haul them in and out of my garage depending on the temperatures.  This winter they have been out more than they […]

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