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Bee Bar

Published by Jollean Smith in Bees · 26/5/2019 21:48:23
Tags: BeeBarGardenFlowerNative

I want to share with you a virtual tour of my latest project, the Bee Bar. This is where the Bees can go, to get a buzz!  Where nectar is always on tap. Well not really on tap, but you get the theme. The Bee Bar is actually a fun and interesting space in the garden, that has an important purpose to help native bees.

We have a home that we purchased a year ago that has a very American/Canadian type of yard, mostly lawn. A giant green patch of mowing space. I am not a fan of the massive green lawn. Don’t get me wrong I like patches of lawn, but massive areas just for mowing, make no sense to me. The turf lawn is a costly, time waster with no benefits to nature. My challenge, my husband is a lawn lover. Gasp! He doesn’t have time to mow but he does like the lawn and mowing it.

(Look at all that lawn! It's just half of it.)

Slowly over time, what I am doing is carving out flower beds and creating natural habitats, one square at a time. I feel like, if these new squares appear slowly, I can ease my husband into the ever declining green space and the ever growing native space.

What’s in the Bee Bar?

(It is hard to see all the flowers packed into the space, as many are seedlings or have yet to sprout.)

Along with some humour around bar related topics, this Bee Bar is planted with bee benefits and a little education. Each flower has been carefully selected to serve an important purpose.

1. Provide the most nutrient rich native flowers.
2. Offer a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the year.
3. Grow flowers that provide bees with medicinal value.

The bed does not look like much right now because most of what is planted was done recently by seed. There are only two greenhouse plants in the mix. Many flowers you buy at the big box stores are still being treated we chemicals such as neonics, which wreak havec on a bees immune system. As the Bee Bar grows this summer it will fill in quite a bit.

Here is what is planted:
Asters - Prolific bloomers offering a bounty of fall flowers.
Gaillardia - Native to North America, long summer bloomers.
Echinacea - Also Native to North America, drought tolerant, long summer/fall bloomer.
Agastache - Drought tolerant, Native flower with medicinal value to Bee’s. It contains secondary metabolites. These secondary metabolites are used by Bee’s to help fight intestinal parasites that they may commonly get.
Yarrow - Drought tolerant, Native flower also has medicinal value to bee’s with secondary metabolites.
Cleome - Native North American plant that blooms in the summer.
Camellia - Winter blooming.
Red Clover - A big nectar provider for bees. Also good for the soil as its a nitrogen fixer.

I have also moved some unidentified native flowers that have popped up in walking path areas, into the Bee Bar. As I see the holes in the Bee Bar I will continue to add in a few more flowers until I just have no choice but to expand. Poor hubby!

(The watering hole. One of the worker bees sole jobs is to collect water for the hive.)

The Bee Bar comes complete with signage for visitors and an actual bee watering hole. I am not sure the watering hole actually attracts many bees, but my bird bath not far away does.

Why bother? It’s just one yard.

One acre of wildflower meadow on a single day can contain three million flowers, producing 1Kg of nectar - enough to support nearly 96,000 honeybees per day, according to Plantlife.”1

That is why I bother. Even if I had half an acre or a quarter, the impact to bees is substantial. It’s my goal to support 96,000 bees one day and the Bee Bar is just the beginning.

Consider adding a Bee Bar to your garden. Show off your creativity and share it with us. Once this fills in I will share an updated picture.

Next up is the butterfly garden. I will need to get thinking on how that one will be creatively displayed, but I already have the plants ready for seeding. Stay tuned for that.

Thanks for being here with us.

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Keep reading:
Learn how some flowers are harming bees.

Garden Miracles

Published by Jollean Smith in Flowers · 26/8/2018 10:06:21
Tags: PassionFlowerVineGardenNaturalButterflies

Perhaps I am a bit weird, but I cannot help but be absolutely impressed by the miracles a garden can provide when it is left alone. It is Ironic really, that the least amount of work from the gardener, can create the most ideal conditions to deliver the most spectacular garden results.

One example I have recently found in our garden is in an area that we normally take the weed wacker to. Instead, we let the area go wild and what it is giving us, is what I consider a garden miracle.

In an area near the house, we left a space alone and a vine started to grow.

Eventually, to my suprise that vine produced Passion Flowers. These flowers are so stunning with their intricate and delicate flower parts. I was so excited to have these flowers. I had been trying to grow some from seed and had no idea that we had some that just grew naturally.

Then a little while later, those flowers produced fruit. Little Passion Fruits that can be turned into jelly.

Now the vine is hosting about 30 caterpillars. These hungry spikey caterpillars are chomping away at the Passion Vine.

Those 30 caterpillars will then turn into Gulf Fritillary butterflies. A very pretty orange butterfly that is common in the southern US.

After they hatch into butterflies, they will head to my Lantana flowers for their nectar source which are nicely placed throughout my garden so we can enjoy watching the live butterfly action.

For me our laziness has turned into so many blessings.

  • Beautiful flowers.

  • Free fruit.

  • Butterflies in abundance.

This only reminds me of how important it is to create spaces within your garden that remain completely natural. Don’t apply any chemicals (I don’t like these anywhere in my yard) and no cleaning or weeding. You can be cheap and lazy and in return get fruit and butterflies. How can you not love that?

Are you supporting garden miracles and have a designated natural patch in your garden? I would love to see it! Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for visiting us, so happy to have your here with us at iwetmyplants.net

Plant Spotlight: Loving Lantana

Published by Jollean Smith in Flowers · 6/5/2018 21:03:41
Tags: FlowerPlantSpotlightGardenLantanaDroughtTolerant

As I learn to adapt to gardening in Mississippi, one of the first lessons I have had is that you have to plant flowers that can tolerate the heat. Flowers that cannot tolerate the heat will lose their blooms. Lantana is about as tolerant as you can get.

This is one flower I have grown as an annual in Canada. I always grab Lantana as they are so eye catching. I love their delicate little flowers, that have such a vibrant blend of bright colors.

They are known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.

In the south USA region, Lantana is unique, it can be grown as a regular flower or into a bush. It can be both an Annual and a Perennial.

Quick Lantana facts

  • Type: Annual that can be made a Perennial if you bring it inside by first frost.

  • Sun Type: Full

  • Soil: Slightly Acidic

  • Fertilizer: Recommended for containers but most likely not needed when in the ground.

  • Heat toleration: High

  • Frost toleration: None - I have read that any temperature below 28f/ -2c will kill the plant.

  • Moisture Level: Keep moist during germination, full grown plants are drought tolerant and might need water once a week.

  • Lantana Dislikes: Shade

Getting started with Lantana

You can get started with Lantana in three ways.
1. Cuttings from an existing plant.
2. Seeds either purchased or taken from a plant.
3. Buying a plant from your favourite greenhouse.

Seeds are a bit more work as you will need to find the berries, extract the seeds and dry the seeds before planting. Some Lantana plants that you buy from stores today have been designed not to produce berries, so you may not actually have the option to do this always.

Propagating Lantana from a cutting is the next option which is most likely to produce a plant that is an exact match to the plant you are cutting it from. You will need the help of a root stimulation powder to get it started.

Lantana is common at garden centres and big box stores. It really is not a hard plant to find.

Amazon also offers some options to get your hands on some Lantana variations:

These are paid referral links.

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