The Story of a Garden: Attracting Pollinators

Generally my posts are how-to in nature but with the gardens in full bloom, I decided to share some photos and a bit of history.

These gardens have been a work in progress for 10+ years.  Originally this was all a farm and typical of Vermont, the land is still filled with rocks and the soil is clay-hard.  This year, despite 5°F temps in early April (after 2 weeks of 60° days), a very hungry woodchuck, an extended bout of high heat and very little rain, and a family of rabbits who managed to get into the fenced in garden but haven’t figured out how to get out, the gardens are doing remarkably well.

 

When we moved to this home from an older farmhouse further north, there were only meadows of milkweed and golden rod.  So, we started with a clean slate – always a bit of a challenge!

starting a garden in Vermont

This was the beginning 10+ years ago. . . .

 

Vermont snow

We live in a climate that gets plenty of cold, snow and prolonged deep freezes.

 

spring in Vermont

Spring was slow to come this year.

This spring we had a few set backs, with some extremely cold temps in mid April after a few weeks of 60° days.  To our surprise, we didn’t loose too much!

 

Flower Carpet roses

The Flower Carpet roses quickly came to size and were in full bloom by Father’s Day.

 

Volcano phlox

These Volcano phlox will be loaded with Monarch butterflies in an another week or so!

I grow only plants that are tough and hardy.  Any that don’t survive the Vermont winters or our on-again-off-again springs are replaced with something more dependable like Flower Carpet roses or Volcano phlox.

With the diminishing number of pollinator bees and  Monarch butterflies across the US, we’re doing our best to maintain our meadows which are filled with milkweed (essential for Monarch survival), to grow plants that attract the bees and butterflies, and to refrain from using any sprays – even organic ones – that would destroy these beneficial insects.  Believe it or  not, with the right choice of plants, it’s entirely possible to do!

Pollinator plants

Flower Carpet Amber is a favorite of our local bees.

 

Shades of pink

A pollinator’s paradise.

 

Pollinators

The low creeping thyme along the footpath is filled with honey bees for weeks on end  – perfect for any garden!

 

easy care rose

Easy care Flower Carpet Appleblossom is a lovely companion for saliva ‘May Night’.

 

Pollinator plants

Volcano phlox bloom for weeks on end, and then can be deadheaded for a second bloom!

 

Bird and butterfly garden

The birds love it here too.

 

easy care carpet roses

Having fresh water readily available is essential for attracting birds and butterflies to the garden.

 

flower carpet Amber

I love watching Flower Carpet Amber change shades of amber and peach as it matures.

 

great plant combinations

Purple Salvia ‘May Night’ blooms all summer long, attracts bees and is a great color to combine with easy care Flower Carpet Yellow.

 

thriller plant

Tropicanna cannas are in containers across the deck that overlooks the gardens, and will  be in full bloom soon!

 

volcano phlox

Volcano phlox are lower growing than some of my older varieties of phlox, and don’t need to be staked – another time saver!

 

blue petunias

In the evening, these purple Wave Petunias fill the air with their lovely fragrance.

 

birds and butterly gardens

Stella-type daylilies bloom for weeks on end, serving as a great color companion for Volcano “Pink with Red Eyes” which are often filled with Monarchs.

 

flower carpet scarlet

This little branch of Flower Carpet Scarlet found it’s way up from the larger plant below.

 

Our vegetable garden carries us through the summer and into the fall but isn’t too large.   The dill plants are all “volunteers” from last year, as is the massive 6-foot-wide borage plant (in front of the composter).  Even though it hinders entrance to the green bean trellis,  I’ve let it stay because the bees are constantly there and my hope is that they’re pollinating the cucumbers, beans and squash.

-Borage-Plant

Borage is an annual herb. The young leaves are edible and the blossoms bloom non-stop throughout the summer and are particularly attractive to honey bees.  Photo from Wikipedia

 

small vegetable garden

Our vegetable garden is ready to burst.

 

rainbow over Green Mountains

And at the end of the day . . ..

We’ve indeed very fortunate to live and garden in this lovely part of the world.

If you’d like to share your garden photos and experiences, please send them to us at goodgardening@youreasygarden.com!

Happy Gardening all!

 

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One Response to The Story of a Garden: Attracting Pollinators

  1. Shirley Gardner July 30, 2016 at 12:20 am #

    Hi there lady! Love your blog and all your gorgeous pictures!

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