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Proof Is in the Pollinators

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Shelley Haefner is sharing a beautiful garden with us today.

One of the best ways to know if you’re planting for pollinators is if you see a continual increase in the varieties that visit. My gardens are organically grown in Old Chatham New York, Zone 5b, where we have a pretty short growing season. Over the last few years, we’ve gone from seeing a few bees and butterflies to seeing a tenfold increase. Part of the reason is the addition of brightly colored perennials and an increased focus on adding the pollinators’ host plants. I thought I’d share my “Perennial Playland,” which attracts the most beautiful visitors to my gardens.

It’s a riot of color in this ‘Perennial Playland’ garden! This garden is chockful of different varieties for summer color, like coneflowers (Echinacea hybrids, Zones 4–9), daylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids, Zones 4–10), lobelia (Lobelia cardinalis, Zones 3–9), Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum, Zones 3–8), and more.

close up of blue and purple flowers in front of a patioThe patio space planted up with ‘Golden Jubilee’ hyssop (Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’, Zones 5–8) and mixed with the Giant Benarys zinnias (Zinnia elegans, annual) that I start from seed is very popular with the butterflies and bees.

hummingbird resting on an orange coneflowerBaby hummingbirds learning to eat for the first time sip from different plants and stop for a rest on Adobe Orange coneflowers.

two different butterflies resting on pink coneflowersMultiple visitors enjoy the ‘Mama Mia’ coneflowers.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a bright pink coneflowerEastern tiger swallowtail on ‘Mama Mia’ coneflower

close up on a fly on top of a pink coneflowerSyrphid fly on Pow Wow Wild Berry coneflowers. (Yes, this looks like a hornet at first glance. Many flies mimic the look of bees and hornets so predators will leave them alone. But syrphid flies don’t sting and are excellent pollinators.)

two butterflies and a moth on an orange coneflowerBumblebees frequently visit Kismet Intense Orange coneflowers, along with various skippers.

black butterfly on a light pink zinniaBlack swallowtails visit these zinnias that I’ve mixed in with dill in the vegetable garden. Dill is one of the host plants for their caterpillars.

monarch butterflu on a red and orange daylily flowerEven the the daylilies get some attention!

dragonfly on bright green leavesWe also have a healthy and diverse population of dragonflies.

orange butterfly on a white milkweedFritillary on ‘Ice Ballet’ milkweed (Asclepias incarnata ‘Ice Ballet’, Zones 3–9)

You can find more of my garden journey on Facebook (GreenThumbDesigner), Instagram (@guiding_green_thumbs), or YouTube (Guiding Green Thumbs).

 

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