If you recall a while back I talked about losing the hollies in the garden at the front porch and how I didn’t know what to do with that area. I looked at all manner off shrubs, evergreens and the like. I guess at first I was trying to keep it close to what it had been, but then the bee adventure began and I started to rethink my plan.
That bed has always had milkweeds in it, Asclepias incarnata L. (Swamp milkweed), Asclepias syriaca (Common milkweed) and Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed). In addition there is Buddleia davidii (Butterfly bush), Rudbeckia hirta (Black eyed Susan) and a couple of Echinacea varieties. There are also some red and yellow lilies, a Sweet pepper bush, hellebores and lily of the valley. With the hollies all cut back (they are not dead by any means and the one that Randy cut back has bushed out nicely) it opened up a lot of space for additional planting. So since it is one of the few areas that gets abundant sunshine I decided to continue on the theme of a place for pollinators and add some plants that the bees would enjoy as well.
Off to the local nursery I went and I walked the isles of sun loving perennials looking for the bees. It didn’t take long to find them and the plants that they preferred and once I did I got two of each to bring home! The reward was instant as the bees arrived within moments of the plants arrival!
The additions I made were Veronica spicata (Long leaf Speedwell and Red Fox), Nepeta cataria (Catmint), and Salvia pratensis (Royal Crimson Distinction). I also purchased two A. curassavica (Tropical milkweeds) and two Scabiosa columbaria (Pincushion flowers). I know from previous experience that the bees love Eupatorium purpureum (Joe-Pye Weed), Solidago canadensis (Golden rod) and Agastache foeniculum (Anise hyssop). I had the best luck on my trip as they just happened to have some joe-pye weed, golden rod, butterfly weed and Salvia nemorosa (Meadow Sage Marcus) on the 50% off table! I transplanted a Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower) that was mixed in with some hosta and an Agastache from the old pond location to this area. I got lucky again when my mom just happened to share some other varieties of Agastache with me from extras she’d ordered! I added a shepherds hook with a humming bird feeder and filled the glass ‘butterfly feeder’ with 'butterfly nectar’.
As you can see I still have some plants to plant! It was 90 yesterday with high humidity and I worked out there until I thought I was going to melt. I’ll have to get out there in the morning one day this week and get everything else in the ground. Better to do it a little early when maybe the bees won’t be so busy! In the end, cutting those hollies back turned out to be a great way for me to create a pollinators paradise! Of course, it’s just one of the many additions I plan on adding from here on out!