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Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/9/2014, 1:52 pm

Hard not to love monarchs. So beautiful. And for a cheap camera, yours did a wonderful job. Usually cheap cameras don't have good lenses for close-ups. And your focus came out just right too.

Cameras in general are so much easier to use now. Getting a good close-up used to require a good lens and a tripod to keep the shaking down, focus could be pretty tricky, and you might even need a special lens. Now even "old" cameras are sometimes pretty darn good and can do lots of tricks.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  walshevak on 10/11/2014, 10:54 am

I have to agree on bees and basil.  Last year I "stuck" a couple of Thai basil plants into my front flower bed of impatiens.  When it bloomed, the bees went crazy.  This year I planned  my impatiens around the Thai basil that reseeded itself and it has looked fantastic as well as been a bee haven.  FYI, Northeast side of the house morning sun only.




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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  camprn on 10/11/2014, 11:01 am

Lovely!!

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Windmere on 10/11/2014, 11:59 am

Wow Kay.  Gorgeous work!

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  sanderson on 10/11/2014, 12:39 pm

Kay, I love color spots/flower beds! Very Happy I also let my (cinnamon) basil go to flower!

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/11/2014, 3:33 pm

Very pretty. I like "wild spots" like that.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 10/13/2014, 8:44 am

Kay, that really looks pretty!  If I were a bee, I'd love it too!


I've got luffa in bloom right now.  The vines have taken over everything!  And the bees & wasps are going nuts over the flowers.  And apparently the ends of the luffas also put out some sort of nectar as well.  I see them crawling all over them too...

Mike wanted me to cut some of it, but I know this is the bees last chance to stockpile their food.  So I haven't.  When I explained why, he was fine with it.  As long as it doesn't try to bury the camper or our neighbor's boat, lol.

I've also got broccoli in bloom that the bumbles seem to like.

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Annuals and sand

Post  Windmere on 10/15/2014, 10:57 am

This morning I got an e-mail from Organic Gardening that contained some new information for me.  Specifically using sand to distribute flower seeds:

"Planting Self-Seeding Annuals
To start a new colony of self-seeders, wait until after a killing frost in fall to make the initial sowing. Cultivate the ground shallowly to loosen the top inch of soil and to remove weeds. In a jar, shake the seeds with some dry sand; the sand facilitates distribution of the seeds and makes it easier to see where the seeds have landed. The exact proportion of seeds to sand doesn't matter, and you can mix more than one type of seed in the jar. Then sprinkle the sand over the ground. Except for seeds such as poppies that prefer to remain on the surface, rake gently to cover, then water."

I never heard of the sand technique until now.

The article also mentions some flowers that might be good to seed with this technique:

"California poppy, cornflower, and calendula—plus nostalgic favorites such as four-o'clock, tassel flower (Emilia coccinea), corn poppy, annual baby's breath, and gloriosa daisy."

Anyway, I thought I would share this info.  I fully intend to try this.  I have seeds for four of the above-mention flowers.

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Pollinator flowers that have begun to blossom

Post  Windmere on 6/9/2015, 11:34 pm

Well, I finally have blooming some flowers that the bees and butterflies really like.  I thought I'd post some pictures that I took this morning.

At any given time, you will likely see bumble bees swarming around our borage.  I am still a bit  taken aback by the size of these plants.  My wife pokes fun at me because I made sure to plant the borage seeds in MM....  that's all they needed... something to make them get even bigger!!  Rolling Eyes 



Cosmos:



Echinacea:



Year after year, the bees love my Queen Sofia dwarf marigolds:



Ok... this is not a wildflower, but it's the "Love" variety rose I planted for my wife.  I planted "Peace" for my daughter.  They've told me, "You can't let Love and Peace die!"  Hence, they are planted in about 2 x 2 ft deep holes filled with MM... and the pollinators like them too... 
This one is a bit faded, but still pretty:



Have you got any pollinator flowers you're enjoying?  Please share!

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  boffer on 6/9/2015, 11:52 pm

Globe artichokes


This isn't my picture, but I've seen a dozen bumble bees on one  artichoke flower.  They lay on their back and wiggle around.

My artichokes don't get real big, so I just let them flower for the bees.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/10/2015, 12:42 am

Wow, that Queen Sofia marigold is astonishing! Who sells it? I'd like to grow some of those.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Windmere on 6/10/2015, 8:39 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:Wow, that Queen Sofia marigold is astonishing!  Who sells it?  I'd like to grow some of those.
Marc, two years ago I bought the seeds from Walmart for ... 20 cents.  I've harvested seeds at the end of the season since then.  I wish could send you some seeds, but I planted all I had at the beginning of this year's season.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  yolos on 6/10/2015, 9:01 am

Borage - the bees are all over it.
Cosmos - ditto, bees love it.
Sunflowers -
French Dwarf Marigold - no bees yet but they usually like this.
Four O'clock - no bees
Nasturtiums - no bees but for the first time in my garden I saw two humming birds.
Black Eyed Susan - no bees

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  sanderson on 6/11/2015, 12:12 am

Flowering giant Cilantro are #1 this year. Tomatillos, borage, sage family and cosmos are the 2ndtier.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 6/11/2015, 8:06 am

Everything seems to really like my calendula right now!

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A lily of the field in all its splendor

Post  Windmere on 6/18/2015, 6:16 pm

Folks, I had to post this shot of a lily in our front yard.  I don't know how, but the flowers from this plant have as many as four layers of petals.  The pollinators love it!


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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/18/2015, 8:37 pm

@Pollinator wrote:
@Windmere wrote:
I am getting ready to do my seed ordering.  Please let me know your thoughts.   Very Happy 

(And you Middle Southerners, don't be shy!)

I've seen lots of good ideas here. One that I may have missed is Spiderwort - a long bloomer and the little bees love it.

The little bees have less charisma, but are important pollinators. They also love anything in the dill/fennel/parsley family.

And don't forget the rest of their needs, either. Your purpose is not to attract them, because their populations are too thin now. Rather your purpose is to build up their populations.

So make sure they have fresh water at all times, but especially in drought.

Some need mud to nest. We have a big lump of clay under the air conditioner drip line.

Many need appropriate spots to nest, and nesting materials. We have bundles of reeds and briar canes in sheltered spots for them to use.

And most of all, protection from poisoning. A yard-fogging neighbor or an area-wide mosquito spray can undo all the good you do.
Pollinator, I love the tiny bees.   I have just been having so much concern over the bee population decline and unexplained viral syndrome destroying entire hives... We must help by giving them clean space and nectar supplies that are safe!

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Tiger Eyes

Post  Windmere on 6/19/2015, 3:54 pm

This is an interesting variety of dwarf marigold that I planted this year.  It's called Tiger Eyes.  So far, no butterflies have been interested in it, but it may be too early in the season.  Anyway, I think it's pretty cool.


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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/19/2015, 6:01 pm

No credit to me other than procrastination, but I saw bees on my little stand of flowering purple thistles!Wink

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Queen Sophia and her butterfly subject

Post  Windmere on 7/23/2015, 2:45 pm

I've been meaning to post this for a while.  Below is a loyal subject of Queen Sophia (marigold that is):



I couldn't get any closer, but perhaps you can see at least some of this butterfly's magnificence.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/23/2015, 3:07 pm

@Windmere wrote:Folks, I had to post this shot of a lily in our front yard.  I don't know how, but the flowers from this plant have as many as four layers of petals.  The pollinators love it!


That is a cool looking plant. I like your Tiger Eye marigold too -- that's such an unusual shape for a marigold flower!

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Scorpio Rising on 7/23/2015, 9:33 pm

@Windmere wrote:Folks, I had to post this shot of a lily in our front yard.  I don't know how, but the flowers from this plant have as many as four layers of petals.  The pollinators love it!


Windmere, I have those growing here by my pool area, very pretty! They go a little later than the standard tiger lilies. And humming birds and bees love them!

As for other plants, my lantana and loosestife attract the hummingbirds and bees. Bees, larger than standard honeybees but smaller versions of bumbles,,,cute blackish, they really like the squash blossoms, almost burying themselves in there 2 at a time!

Echinacea, bee balms, and zinnias are also favorites. flower

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/24/2015, 3:39 am

Many of the best pollinator attractors I see are vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowering trees. They tend to be much more sturdy than some flowers I plant specifically to attract pollinators, too. I've seen massive amounts of bees and sometimes moths and butterfies on, for instance:

onions
leeks
chives
hawthorne trees
mango trees
blackberry vines
daikon radishes
kale
broccoli raab(broccolini)
thyme
basil
mint
oregano (!!!)

I think oregano is worth planting for the bees alone. I planted a variety that was fairly tasteless, but the bees went crazy for it. It got pretty darn big and kept them happy for months.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

Post  BeckieSueDalton on 7/24/2015, 11:38 am

The only things that seem to be attracting a lot of bees for me are my cucumber and my squash pool (zucchini, acorn, pumpkin), but that's really only because they're my only plant in flower at the moment.  The cucumber have more than the squash do, both in number of flowers and bees.  

Bees seemed to like my bush green beans well enough before they quit producing and I tore them out, so I'll have more flowers to offer them in a few more weeks once my new Kentucky Wonder and Asian Long pole beans reach the flowering stage.  I've got a Nasturtium planted in each bucket of beans, so, as soon as they grow a little more and start blooming, that should up the flower population available in my tiny garden (and maybe even up my Ladybug/Mantis populations with the aphids they'll attract).

My Roma tomatoes are just now starting to show flowers; I've still not seen any yet from the Marion or Red Beefsteak.  I also have basil, but it's just tiny little seedlings right now.  After reading several of your posts, I'll be sure to let at least some of it go to flower.

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Another Loyal Subject of Queen Sophia

Post  Windmere on 7/25/2015, 8:49 pm

This butterfly let me come really close to him.  He actually flew away twice as I was trying to get closer and closer (I have four shots, each getting closer).  Each time I spooked him, he came right back to the Queen Sophia marigold he was on, like he was spellbound.  I have to say, for the third year in a row, Queen Sophia seems to be THE magnet for butterflies.  This year, for fun, I also planted Tigers Eye and Naughty Marietta marigolds.  It seems that only the bees are interested in those last two.




I have a completely unscientific theory about why the butterflies seem to prefer the Queen Sophia marigolds in my garden.  Each petal is orange on the outer tip, but the coloring gets progressively redder toward the center.  To me, they each look like a little landing pad, drawing attention to a redder and redder center.  I wonder if this draws the butterfly?  Anyway, completely unscientific idea and probably rubbish.

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Re: Butterfly/Pollinator Havens - Which plants are your favorite to cultivate?

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