Feeding Our Pollinators

Sometimes I write a post that is a thinly disguised excuse for posting a bunch of pictures of flowers. However, it isn’t frivolous because flowers really matter. One of my gardening goals this year is to keep a fairly steady supply of flowers going for the pollinators and notice which ones they visit the most.

Starting in early spring, the Japanese plum trees were heavily visited. The next thing that bloomed was the black locust tree, and it was absolutely mobbed with bees. I could sit under the tree and listen to the loud hum.

Next, wisteria, which seemed to be especially attractive to bumblebees.

Turkish Rocket  proved to be a fair bee plant.

The olive-leaved sylvetta arugula is exceptionally attractive to pollinators of all kinds. It’s reliably perennial in my garden and can tolerate any amount of neglect.

The most wildly attractive of all my nectary plants are the poppies. Lavish Shirley poppies, unimproved cornfield poppies, breadseed poppies, Oriental poppies, the bees adore them all. They would be worth a lot of trouble to have, but they aren’t any trouble.


This year I planted patches of bee’s friend, Phacelia tanacetifolia, which is supposed to be the best nectary plant going.  In my garden it bloomed at the same time as the poppies and is being somewhat ignored in the poppy frenzy, but bees do visit it and I enjoy having it around, so I will certainly plant some more next year.

Ornamental and edible alliums that are allowed to flower are a hit with honeybees.

I plant alfalfa all over the place and always let some flower, and my common yard hollyhocks are visited frequently by bees.  There are many unspectacular flowers that the bees like just fine. I  grew a lot of arugula around my yard and let it go to flower so that it will see that self, and the bees like the small nondescript flowers.  If you grow vegetables in the mustard family and don’t get around to eating them all, you can always let one or two go to seed and the bees will enjoy them. Edible weeds dandelion and sow thistle are liked by bees, making them nice  to have around on two counts.

Just don’t spray. Please don’t spray.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by The High Plainslady on May 30, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Really lovely! I have planted a ton of flowers and bulbs here in my suburban CO house. I’ve been researching deer resistant ones to plant when we move to our homestead in WY


    • Posted by wooddogs3 on May 30, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      I would think that the alliums would be very deer resistant. The foliage smells like onion, and I don’t know of any wild animals that will eat onion. Good luck in your new adventure. It sounds really exciting.


      • Posted by The High Plainslady on June 2, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Thank you! I’ve decided to spread wildflower seed over an acre to make a wildflower meadow. There are some local places in WY that sell native mixes and many are deer resistant. I’ll see how that acre does and go from there. Our land is all prairie…wide open…

  2. Posted by wooddogs3 on June 2, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    That sounds beautiful. The first year that I was in my current home I tried to have a wildflower meadow in the back yard. Unfortunately it required constant weeding because of the jillions of tumbleweed seeds in the soil, so I spent all my free time weeding on my knees in the sun, but in bloom it was breathtaking and I’d do it again if my knees were up to it 😉. Post pictures!


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