All Posts   Posted:   June 22, 2017 by Nicole Forbes - education

In celebration of National Pollinator Week and the official start of summer, container planting is a great project for this weekend. Add some deck pots with culinary herbs & edible flowers (handy for a quick garnish or a “fancy” cocktail) and dress up the patio with containers of colorful flowers. Although many primary pollinators are bees that we may not want to attract to our favorite seating area, hummingbirds, butterflies and moths are important pollinators too and fun to watch as they float and flit around the garden.

An arrangement of pots planted with herbs keeps them conveniently located near the kitchen door or outdoor BBQ/eating area so that they can be used fresh and frequently. It’s great to be able to dash out and grab a handful of chives for a potato or a sprig of mint for a mojito! Herb flowers are an important food source for pollinators too so when the plants begin to bloom you can step back and enjoy the show (or simply move the pot to a low-traffic area). Herbs are best when harvested early in the morning for peak flavor; this is also a good time for us to visit the plant without interrupting the bees’ schedule.

In addition to herb flowers, many ornamental plants can be used to attract and provide for pollinators in containers. Using the different shapes, and colors of flowers (among other things), a concept known as “pollinator syndrome” is helpful in selecting specific plants that appeal to hummingbirds, butterflies or other garden friends. To put it simply, the flower’s color, shape, scent, bloom time, etc. relates to its chance of being visited by a bee or a moth, a butterfly or a hummingbird and so on.

Here is an overview:

Bees: prefer flowers colored bright white, yellow, blue/purple (bees can’t see the color red), best flower shape is shallow, tubular with a landing platform.

Bats: prefer flowers colored dull white, green or purple with a strong musty fragrance at night; best flower shape is regular or bowl shaped and is closed during the day.

Butterflies: prefer flowers in bright colors including red and purple with a narrow tube shape, with a spur or a wide landing pad.

Hummingbirds: prefer flowers in scarlet, orange, red or white with tubular shapes, large funnel or cup shapes; perch support is added bonus

Moths: prefer pale-colored flowers in dull red, purple, pink or white with a regular or tubular shape; strong sweet fragrance at night is especially attractive

In celebration of National Pollinator Week and the official start of summer, container planting is a great project for this weekend. Add some deck pots with culinary herbs & edible flowers (handy for a quick garnish or a “fancy” cocktail) and dress up the patio with containers of colorful flowers. Although many primary pollinators are bees that we may not want to attract to our favorite seating area, hummingbirds, butterflies and moths are important pollinators too and fun to watch as they float and flit around the garden.

An arrangement of pots planted with herbs keeps them conveniently located near the kitchen door or outdoor BBQ/eating area so that they can be used fresh and frequently. It’s great to be able to dash out and grab a handful of chives for a potato or a sprig of mint for a mojito! Herb flowers are an important food source for pollinators too so when the plants begin to bloom you can step back and enjoy the show (or simply move the pot to a low-traffic area). Herbs are best when harvested early in the morning for peak flavor; this is also a good time for us to visit the plant without interrupting the bees’ schedule.

In addition to herb flowers, many ornamental plants can be used to attract and provide for pollinators in containers. Using the different shapes, and colors of flowers (among other things), a concept known as “pollinator syndrome” is helpful in selecting specific plants that appeal to hummingbirds, butterflies or other garden friends. To put it simply, the flower’s color, shape, scent, bloom time, etc. relates to its chance of being visited by a bee or a moth, a butterfly or a hummingbird and so on.

Here is an overview:

Bees: prefer flowers colored bright white, yellow, blue/purple (bees can’t see the color red), best flower shape is shallow, tubular with a landing platform.

Bats: prefer flowers colored dull white, green or purple with a strong musty fragrance at night; best flower shape is regular or bowl shaped and is closed during the day.

Butterflies: prefer flowers in bright colors including red and purple with a narrow tube shape, with a spur or a wide landing pad.

Hummingbirds: prefer flowers in scarlet, orange, red or white with tubular shapes, large funnel or cup shapes; perch support is added bonus

Moths: prefer pale-colored flowers in dull red, purple, pink or white with a regular or tubular shape; strong sweet fragrance at night is especially attractive