It’s that time of year when we start to think about spring planting. How do you choose the best plants to improve the ecosystem in your own yard? Choosing native plants which are “environmental workhorses” will not only help improve your ecosystem, but will also reward you with more birds, butterflies, beneficial insects and other critters in your yard. When considering plants, first ask:
Is the plant native to my region, supporting the natural ecosystem?
Is this the right plant for the site I am considering (sun level,…
For honey bees, pollen is essential for brood-rearing, and they need a lot of it: an average colony collects 50 to 125 pounds per year. Pollen is honey bees’ main source of protein, lipids, vitamins and minerals. They need pollen with 20% protein; 10 of the amino acids in pollen protein are essential to honey bee development. Not all plants provide equally nutritious pollen, or the same amount of pollen. And, honey bees do not seem to choose pollen based on its nutritional content….
Honey bees need pollen sources with 20% protein. Are you planting the right plants to keep them well fed?
Let us know what’s in your garden to support honey bees and native bees.
Happy Planting from Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!
Photo: Honey Bee Diving Into a Willow Blossom (Salix species)
Photo credit: Flickr/David Rynde
In very the early spring, trees and shrubs with early blooms are critical for honey bees and our native bees. Some provide both nectar and pollen, and some only offer pollen. As the growing season progresses, more resources become available to bees, but you can help them out in early spring by planting some early blooming native trees and shrubs. (For more information on these plants or to see what is native to your area, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database….
Backyard beekeeping has risen dramatically in the U.S. Unfortunately, in many areas there just aren’t enough nectar and pollen plants to go around to feed all the hungry honey bees. The result: starving honey bees or bees that seek out any sugary substance close at hand, in order to survive. You may have heard about the red honey that was reported in Brooklyn, NY in 2010 when honey bee colonies went “dumpster diving” in a maraschino cherry factory. Blue and green honey just appeared this past fall in Alsace,…
Let us know what native plants you are growing to attract hummers and what state you live in!
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)
Columbine (Native Aquilegia species)
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)
Beardtongue (Native Penstemon species)
Red Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Salvia (Native Salvia species)
Happy Nectaring from Kim Eierman EcoBeneficial!
Photo: Hummingbird and Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
Photo credit: Flickr/gerrybuckel
Many native perennials need a pre-treatment of some sort in order to germinate (such as chilling, wetting, or abrasion of the seed coat). But, there are some great native plants which can be easily germinated without a pre-treatment. With very fine seeds, make sure not to plant them too deeply – they should be planted near the top of the soil level.
Here are some of our native perennials which are easy to germinate, beautiful in the landscape and which provide tremendous ecological benefits:
Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop)
Campanula rotundifolia (Harebell)
Eupatorium hyssopifolium (Hyssop-Leaved Boneset)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset)
Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus (Hollow-Stemmed Joe Pye Weed)
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (Spotted Joe Pye Weed)
Gaillardia aristata (Blanket Flower)
Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)
Helianthus divaricatus (Woodland Sunflower)
Heuchera americana (Common Alumroot)
Helenium autumnale (Sneezeweed)
Heliopsis helianthoides (Oxeye Sunflower)
Oenothera fruticosa (Sundrops)
Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
Rudbekia hirta (Black-eyed Susan)
Rudbeckia triloba (Three-Lobed Coneflower)
Sedum ternatum (Wild Stone Crop)
Symphyotricum cordifolium (Blue Wood Aster)
Symphyotricum laeve (Smooth Blue Aster)
Symphyotricum novi-belgii (New York Aster)
Love it or hate it, snowfall in winter is a reality for most of the country. EcoBeneficial is in the “love it” category. Here’s why:
Snow as Insulator
Snow is not only beautiful, but a blanket of snow acts as just that – a natural blanket of insulation for your garden soil. As with home insulation, the R value is determined by the depth of the snow. New, un-compacted snow provides especially good insulation. A scanty snowfall of an inch or two doesn’t do much,…