Helping the Bees and the Butterflies

February 4, 2019
Lemon Gem
Celeste Longacre

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Bees and butterflies have been experiencing drastic declines in the past few years.

Many believe that it is because of the neonicotinoids (a pesticide) that were introduced in 2006. These creatures are actually essential to our survival so it behooves us to pay attention to our purchase choices and give them a little support in the garden. Stay away from toxic chemicals; we don’t actually need them. Even some flea collars contain these dangerous compounds. Try something different. For decades, we have been adding a heaping tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (nutritional yeast) to our pets’ food all year long and we have never once seen a flea (without using flea collars).

Think about planting some flowers for the bees and butterflies. It’s best to have lots of different kinds so that they will have food the whole summer long. Start with pansies.

These happy faced flowers will bloom for months if the dead blossoms are picked. They also have the added benefit of being edible. Imagine how special salads will appear with the addition of some colorful pansies!

A few perennials like columbine, coral bells and bee balm will bloom next.

 These are favorites of hummingbirds as well. We actually have “hummingbird wars” when our stand of bee balm is in bloom. The female will sit on the fence next to the flowers and chase away any and all challengers to her turf.

Filling in after these are Echinacea, achillae, liatris and phlox. Phlox is particularly easy to grow as the dense root system crowds out weeds.

Annuals like sweet peas, zinnias and marigolds will bloom all summer long if the dead flowers are removed. Pic k a fragrant variety of sweet peas and bring them inside to fill your abode with a luscious scent. There’s two varieties of marigolds that are my favorite; lemon gem and tangerine gem. Brushing the greens gives off a lemony scent and they are edible and very attractive in salads.

Tangerine gem

Let the dandelions and red clover bloom in the lawn. Young dandelion leaves are extremely nutritious and make excellent additions to salads. Also, the flowers—before they emerge—are delicious steamed and served with butter and sea salt.

Perennials like rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) will begin blooming mid-summer and continue right up until the frost. These also make excellent cut flowers.

Asters and sedum come late in the summer. Providing flower food for the bees and butterflies will hopefully speed their recovery.  Avoiding toxic chemicals will also help. Never underestimate the power of your spending dollars.

See a full list of plants which attract butterflies—and please share your favorites or ask questiosn below!

About This Blog

Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens. Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer and gardens by the Moon. Her new book, “Celeste’s Garden Delights,” is now available! Celeste Longacre does a lot of teaching out of her home and garden in the summer. Visit her web site at www.celestelongacre.com for details.

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