Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Planting a Garden for Polinators

All of my garden beds are mostly fruits and vegetables. I went nuts this spring and planted 19 tomato plants; we are on the brink of eating gazpacho for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We have cucumbers, melons, peppers, and herbs. 

But last fall my 11 year old helped me pick out some flowers to intersperse around the veggies, and she really appreciated the look (she's into the aesthetics of things). I did as well. It added color, attracted bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and just made gardening that much more enjoyable. 

I have a brick garden bed up against the house that I was in the midst of removing. Garden beds agains the house are not great, since they keep the soil up agains the house wet, inviting termites and potentially causing foundation issues because of the constant moisture. However, after letting this garden bed go dormant and then starting to dig it out, I discovered that the bottom is sealed concrete, and the excess moisture flows through slots in the bricks in the front. 

Blank canvas just waiting for flowers
So with my discovery of the sealed bottom, and my daughter's love of flowers, we decided to put in a flower garden. A project like this necessitates a trip to the local nursery. I love Summer Winds Nursery in Mesa, Arizona. Avoid the big box stores, as their selection may or may not work with your actual climate. For our garden, we made sure to attract a little of everything, so that all forms of pollinators (bees, butterflies, hummingbirds) would be happy with the garden. 

As with all of the garden beds we started with leveling out the soil, adding a layer of compost from our composter, as well as a bag of amended soil to add nutrients to the bed. From left to right, here is what we planted: 

- Arabian Jasmine - white flowers, amazingly fragrant, makes bees happy

- Lavender - purple flowers, fragrant leaves and flowers, makes bees happy

- Hot Blooded Lantana - heat tolerant red flowers, attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds

- Angelonia (also called Summer Snapdragon) - white flowers, bee attractor

- Red Autumn Sage - red flowers, hummingbird and butterfly attractor

- Hot Blooded Lantana - see above

- Purple Potion Trailing Lantana - purple flowers, attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds

- Arabian Jasmine - see above

- Dhalberg Daisies (planted throughout the garden) - yellow flowers, fragrant, attract bees

I am excited to see how the flowers grow and change over time. But more importantly, I'm excited that my kids get a flower garden, and that our yard has some extra treats for the pollinators. 

Be encouraged. Be inspired. Be resourceful. Run out to your local nursery and plant some flowers for those wonderful pollinators! 

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