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!