Bees, Butterflies and Blooms Around the Potting Shed

Happy Wednesday! Summer arrives officially tomorrow but we’ve had summer like temperatures for weeks now. . .

And it’s National Pollinator Week and I’ve been as busy as a bee trying to keep everything watered in the summer heat!

We went from a very wet spring and a full pond after Subtropical Storm Alberto over Memorial Day weekend, to the 9th driest June on record. Add to that temps in the mid 90s and everything is in need of water.

I’m dashing outside in the early morning hours for my garden chores and then heading back indoors to the comfort of the A/C. . .

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year. Factor in 85% humidity and it’s ‘two showers a day’ kind of weather!

The window boxes have grown in since May. I’ve had several emails and comments about what fertilizer I use.

I use Miracle-Gro Bloom Booster for my summer annuals. It’s around $6 for a 1.5 lb. box and available at most garden centers. It’s also available in a liquid form (Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed Bloom Booster). I start using it every two weeks in the spring and then apply it every 7 to 10 days during the heat of summer when my containers and window boxes are watered more frequently and need help to ‘boost the bloom’. ;)

Bee Balm is blooming and attracting bees and butterflies. . .

I stalked this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail with my camera this weekend and after a little googling determined this is a female swallowtail, denoted by the large area of blue area on the hind wings.


More than 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals. Most (more than 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths and bees.

In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.

Monarch butterflies have declined by 90% in the last 20 years.

25% of bumblebee species are thought to be in serious decline.

Create a pollinator-friendly garden habitat in just a few simple steps:

* Design your garden so that there is a continuous succession of plants flowering from

spring through fall. Check for the species or cultivars best suited to your area and

gradually replace lawn grass with flower beds.

*Plant native to your region using plants that provide nectar for adults plus food for insect

larvae, such as milkweed for monarchs. If you do use non-native plants, choose ones

that don’t spread easily, since these could become invasive.

*Select old-fashioned varieties of flowers whenever possible because breeding has

caused some modern blooms to lose their fragrance and/or the nectar/pollen needed to

attract and feed pollinators.

* Install ‘houses’ for bats and native bees.

* Avoid pesticides if possible. If you must use them, use the least toxic ones and apply them at night when most pollinators aren’t active.

*Provide water for butterflies without letting it become a mosquito breeding area. Refill

containers daily or bury a shallow plant saucer to its rim in a sunny area, fill it with

coarse pine bark or stones and fill to overflowing with water.

 Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is easy to grow and attracts pollinators. . .bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

It’s hardy to USDA zones 5 to 8 (we’re in zone 7b in our area in North Carolina). Find your garden zone by zipcode, here.

Our Rose of Sharon has been blooming for 15+ years and thrives on benign neglect.

It’s in an area of our yard by the lake and has reached a span of 10 feet. It can be pruned to keep it in bounds so it’s more of a shrub but it serves as a buffer between us and our neighbors.

The trees have matured around it so it gets more shade than when it was planted, and consequently has fewer blooms, but the bees love it!

The daylilies aren’t complaining about the heat!

We planted some in late summer last year and I’ve been waiting for them the bloom. The one above is ‘Buffy’s Doll’.

And I’ve waiting not so patiently for my ‘Lake Norman Sunset’ to bloom.

I’ll leave you with another Lake Norman sunset. ♥

Thank you for your visit!

Sharing with:

Gardens Galore @ Everyday Living

 Metamorphosis Monday


  55 comments for “Bees, Butterflies and Blooms Around the Potting Shed

  1. June 20, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Love this! Thank you for sharing your wonderful flowers. Very nice, indeed!

  2. Nancy Bailey
    June 20, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I am devouring your comments for suggestions on gardening, foods and entertaining now that we have made the move from northern CA to NC (15 minutes north of you). I am discovering that virtually every plant I love will grow here. I moved a few of my special daylilies with me and they have never looked more lush. Thank you for the daily inspiration!

  3. Mary
    June 20, 2018 at 7:57 am

    You give us such beauty with the blooms from your beautiful garden, and the butterflies are so lovely and working really hard mixing up the pollen and we just enjoy their loveliness. Your garden and the Butterflies.

  4. Debby Webber
    June 20, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Can you tell me the names of all the flowers in the window box?

    • June 20, 2018 at 8:11 am

      Hi Debby, The window boxes are planted with Petunias, Hot Lobeila, Coleus and Sweet Potato Vine. There are lots of varieties of coleus, some prefer shade rather than sun.

  5. June 20, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Lovely gardens, your butterfly photos are wonderful. We have started letting the meadow grow for one month between mowings to allow more flowers to bloom. My daylilies love this heat too, but I cannot tolerate it. I’ll be getting out very early for the next couple of days to get the weeds out of the flower bed.

  6. June 20, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Mary, your photos are so beautiful! My husband and I are determined to help the pollinators too. We moved into our house last summer with an acre and a half. We have an area in the back that we are trying to keep somewhat wild. We really want to establish a meadow area but we have noxious weeds here that are too many in numbers right now. We’ve determined that we will have to get rid of them in order to really establish the flowers. We have already put out tons of seeds and have some success…not much. Even with the little bit that’s back there we have so many butterflies and bees! It doesn’t look the way I want it to look right now but life is back there so I’m trying to be patient.

    Your flowers and plants look amazing! You remind me that I must get out there with my MiracleGro this morning! Actually I should start marking my calendar. I think your consistency is the key to success! Carry on girl!

  7. Donna C
    June 20, 2018 at 8:10 am


  8. June 20, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Mary, I love walking in your garden. You are so thoughtful about what you plant and how to care for the bees and butterflies. Our weather has been the same. We did receive heavy rain on Sunday evening that was much needed. Happy Gardening!👩🏻‍🌾😎👒

  9. June 20, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Love the pics!!

  10. June 20, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I was hanging on to every word here Mary….I am putting that fertilizer on my list…I will be doing lots of container gardening after we get moved and settled…obviously cannot plant any flowers in the yard now…well maybe a few! What I love about NC in the summer is seeing the roadsides filled with gorgeous daylillies….Yes, we go from feast to famine with this weather…lots of rain and no rain…ugh…and NOW, our yard is being invaded by Japanese Beatles!
    I hope that you have lots of windows in the back of your home so you can gaze out to your gorgeous gardens in the comfort of the A/C!

  11. June 20, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Thank you for telling us what fertilizer you use, Mary! I am going to buying some for my plants. Your window boxes sure are prolific and gorgeous. I had Rose of Sharon in Ohio, and always loved it. I think it’s time that I plant one here in Texas, in my 8a zone (yes, I checked!). I’ve been busy fighting spider mites on my Savannah holly and my East Palatka holly trees with a homemade insecticidal soap. I hope I win! You’re the best for all the information that you share.

  12. June 20, 2018 at 9:16 am

    You have taught me so much this week about pollinators, and your photo captures are so stunning! Your labor of love is paying off in a bounty of blooms, bees and butterflies! I’m in Bham this week and its been in the low 90’s, 😅 I am trying to stay in the AC as much as possible!

  13. Cyndi Raines
    June 20, 2018 at 9:48 am

    This Northern girl feels for you. Saturday and Sunday we we in the high 90’s with heat index at 100 and I only went out in small shifts just to get everything watered, just too much for me. Now we are back downin the 70’s where I love it for gardening. Your flowers are beautiful and I started using that bloom booster this year so I’m excited. I think I need to get some bee balm, Ilike the look of that flower. Your day lillies are pretty, especially Lake Norman Sunset. Wonder if they sell that one this far north? Lovely post, thanks Mary. 🐝☀️🦇🦋🌸🌻🌼

    • June 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      The 70 degree temps sound like heaven Cyndi. We’re not likely to see that again until the end of October if we’re lucky. ;) I ordered my ‘Lake Norman Sunset’ daylily online. It’s out of stock from where I got it last year, but I found it available from this nursery:

      • Cyndi Raines
        June 20, 2018 at 11:35 pm

        Thank you Mary! I will review that site. Love that daylilly and how awesome that it does match your beautiful Lake Norman sunsets! My bee magnets arrived today and I am pleased. I created a sweet tablescape using my square plates that have field flowers on them purchased a couple of years ago at TJMaxx. I don’t have any bee plates, but I figured my bees could bumble along through the flowers. ‘😉🐝

  14. Shirley Graham
    June 20, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Love the flowers! Have just fertilized my pots of flowers but didn’t know about the bloom fertilizer. Learn something new every day! Thanks!

  15. Rita C.
    June 20, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Mary, I love your new daylily blooms – those peachy colors are as dreamy as that sunset. I’ve only just begun to see the butterflies in my garden, but the birds really seem to be nesting all through the landscape. I told my husband to smack me up the side of the head today if I said I was going outside to work in the garden. I put out 5 more bags of mulch in that heat very similar to yours yesterday. Lucky for me, an early evening storm dropped 2″ of water so I didn’t need to tend my annuals! Unfortunately, we lost several limbs on our sassafras on the riverbank, so we had some piling up to do in order for the street dept to chip them away. (Husband said that was a pass for doing yard work this morning. ;)).

  16. Donna Milazzo
    June 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Such beautiful images and flowers! That heat and humidity, wow! You are very dedicated to getting out early to get the watering done. We were in Memphis visiting our daughter last week and we could not go out during the mid-day hours. We are from SoCal and not used to that type of heat.

  17. S Williams
    June 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Good morning Mary-What a beautiful nature feast for the eyes! The excellent photos of the flowers, bees, butterflies, & sunset are so wonderful. This post makes me want to go to the nursery after work and snap up more flowers before the rain (which we badly need) starts this evening (although it would mean more hose lugging Lol)! I really must get some Miracle Grow as your flowers are thriving. We throw our coffee grounds, tea bags (cut open) and ground egg shells into the flower garden beds so I’ve been a little neglectful on the Miracle Grow. Thanks for reminding me! :) I love the Rose of Sharon. It has inspired me to try one in an open space (where it can really spread) as we have a guy with bees behind us and it would provide many more blooms for the bees without a lot of care after it is established. Your talent is a wonderful gift you share with us and we greatly appreciate it! You allow us to enjoy nature in the A/C while motivating us to get outside & plant some beauty for others to enjoy along with helping the pollinators. Your post is better than any magazine! Happy Wednesday! Clara 🌻 🐝 🏵️ 💐 🌹 ☺️ ❤️

    • June 20, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you for your sweet comment and visits Clara ❣️🌺🐝🌻🦋🌞

  18. Linda
    June 20, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Your pictures are beautiful! I have always called your Rose of Sharon – Althea. Are they the same? The one I have has lavender blossoms; my sister’s has white blossoms. Your potting shed looks very pretty!

    • June 20, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you Linda! I just did a search and yes, Rose of Sharon is also known as Althaea, Shrub Althea, Hardy Hibiscus, Hibiscus Syriacus.🐝🌺😀

      • Linda
        June 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm

        Thanks for the information, Mary. 🐝

  19. June 20, 2018 at 11:08 am

    What beautiful flowers you have around my most favorite shed in all the world!

    Thank you also for all the information of pollinating and pollinators!

    I use miracle grow as well. I need to get back out there and fertilize again.

    Love your blog!!

  20. Karen Moore
    June 20, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Beautiful! Everything looks great.

  21. June 20, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Mary, your photos are stunning! How you capture these delicate bees and butterflies is pure joy. I try to keep my pots fertilized too. The frequent watering makes it a necessity. Your flower boxes are gorgeous.
    We are having some much needed rain yesterday and today. I’ll fertilize later this week when the rain has moved on. My big urns need a boost!

  22. Kathy Menold
    June 20, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Just finished up a butterfly bath in my pollinator garden. Took a shallow tuffa leaf
    form,poured sterile beach sand in then covered with river rocks and put in a small amount of water. Placed at the base of my St Fiarca statue, the patron saint of gardeners it looks good. Now to see if the butterflies are attracted to it. Love to watch them on the flowers and herbs and tolerate the caterpillars by planting extra dill,fennel and parsley.

    • June 20, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      That’s sounds great Kathy, I bet it’s beautiful too! I’ve read you can add some overripe fruit or orange slices to your butterfly bath to attract them. 🦋🌺

  23. Marie in AZ
    June 20, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Just beautiful, Mary! Have you heard the saying, “If you’re lucky enough to live near the water, you’re lucky enough…”? You’re extra lucky to have beautiful flora and fauna around you, too, and I so appreciate you sharing your stunning photos and your gardening tips! Thank you, and have a super day…

    • June 20, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks so much Marie! 🌺🐝🌸 I bet it’s hot in your neck of the woods! 🌞

      • Marie in AZ
        June 22, 2018 at 2:16 pm

        Oh, it really is…110 degrees, with a heat warning! But the mornings are gorgeous, and we stay inside in the afternoons…I just look out my patio slider to view my own desert flowers, and watch the hummingbirds zip around!

  24. June 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Beautiful blooms around the potting shed. Love your new daylily! Nice to see the pollinators at work.

  25. June 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Those butterfly photos are just breathtaking! You take such lovely pictures of everything though :)

  26. Janet
    June 20, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Everything you do is just glorious! You are so inspiring with your wealth of gardening knowledge. I always learn something new from each post. I know you always say that our comments “make your day” but you truly make my day, and I’m sure many others would agree. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. By the way, I love the Rose of Sharon shrub. I have one as well. It was one of the first things I planted when I started my garden years ago. My grandmother always had them in her yard and I wanted one to remind me of her. Glad to know they help the bees, etc.

  27. Granny 35 (France)
    June 21, 2018 at 4:07 am

    Merci pour ces nouvelles magnifiques photos de votre jardin ! Mais je pense que vos charmantes petites chiennes doivent être très sages ; car la mienne a tendance a courir après les papillons et a piétiner les fleurs trop fragiles comme les bleuets et les cosmos .
    Bonne journée

  28. Betty Miller
    June 21, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Good Morning, I love all your Beautiful postings of your flowers and gardens, but I do miss your recipes you used to send out ! I have cooked so many of them and love them ! Are you getting out of your cooking on your website ?
    Thanks and love your site always !
    Have a great day !!
    Betty Miller

  29. June 21, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Simply beautiful!!!! Your gardens and the potting shed make for a dreamy place to enjoy summer. Love the MC garden stake. I did so enjoy this tour. Happy Summer!

  30. Virginia
    June 21, 2018 at 10:17 am

    Simply gorgeous!!! Thanks for the advise about making a butterfly bath, I will definitely add that to my to do list. I would love to plant a Rose of Sharon Hibiscus in my garden, how much sun does it need? The native hibiscus grow wild here near the river’s edge and in the swamps, they have large white blooms and are just beautiful.

  31. June 22, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Everything looks pretty and very happy Mary! Sounds like we might be getting a little rain soon, bit of a bummer for a Saturday but I know we need it. Have a great weekend:@)

  32. June 25, 2018 at 8:36 am

    All your photos are so pretty. What a delightful collage of your post!
    Your garden is so lush and beautiful. I enjoyed my stroll and learned several things.
    Your sunset is gorgeous!

  33. June 25, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Just perfect Mary. Your potting shed makes all of us swoon. You are really gifted. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us. Now I hope I can get this posted…have had trouble lately.

  34. June 25, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Mary, I had no idea we could grow Rose Of Sharon in North Carolina. I’ve never seen them in a garden center here but I had some when we lived in Pennsylvania and I really love them.

  35. Pam Richardson
    June 25, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Mary, it was such a pleasure to revisit your lovely garden where bees and butterflies abound! Thank you for linking to Gardens Galore!

  36. June 29, 2018 at 9:12 am

    I have enjoyed my visit with you today. Beautiful flowers.

  37. June 29, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Good Morning Mary!
    Each and every post you share is an inspiration and delight! I know you have provided a happy home to the sweet bees and butterflies, how lucky they are to have discovered you and your fabulous, colorful and darling gardens.
    I am so happy you shared them with our Garden Party!
    Happy 4th of July!

  38. Jann Olson
    June 29, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Mary, you would never know that your garden is suffering from the heat. It is stunning! I use Miracle Fertilizer, but going to switch to the bloom booster now. Thanks for the tip. It has been hot here as well, but we don’t have the humidity. I have 5 white Rose of Sharon as a hedge up on the hill behind our fire pit. I don’t get the blooms like I did at my previous home. I don’t think the sprinklers get to them to give them enough water. I also have a purple one out front. I really think they are pretty. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous gardens with the Garden Party.

  39. June 29, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! You really do have the gift, Mary. I can’t wait until a little time passes and my plants are lush and pretty too. They are just too new right now and it’s hot! I am stalking the MC website for the tuteur to go on sale. I desperately want one!

  40. June 29, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    What a great post. We do need to help the pollinators don’t we! I have some milkweed growing in my front garden that I’ve left for the butterflies but I need to move them because they are starting to spread too wildly. I’ve seen a lot of bees on my flowering shrubs and butterflies which makes me feel good. The statistic are pretty sobering about the decline in the butterfly and bumblebee population. I always enjoy seeing your flowers. You do a wonderful job of keeping them well watered and fertilized. I need to give my plants another round of fertilizer. Miracle Gro is a good brand. I’m pretty sure I have a box of that one you’ve shown and a few others!

  41. June 30, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Amazing photographs . . . Thank you for this lovely pictorial tour. I enjoy every minute of my visit.

  42. June 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  43. emily
    July 31, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I admire and copy when possible your commitment to nature….I have had to move all my flowering pots to the deck so my husband can water easily while I am out of town……I so enjoy the bees and humming birds as they have a feeder as well as the bees… husband is enjoying them not so much! But oh well! He will grow to love them when I return and can water myself!

  44. August 13, 2018 at 8:54 am

    wie schön !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(*L*)

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