Man, summer moves fast! There were a few blogs that came and went without happening, so I’ll touch on some of them in this post. But you can’t do everything when it’s summer, it’s so beautiful out, and green, and buzzing, and there is so much to do!
(Up in Saratoga, the New York City Ballet is in the middle of a two-week summer residency. Their Balanchine Black & White was a cool night. Or give yourself the luxury of heading to Glimmerglass Opera, where the productions I saw were just lovely. Lush stuff, summertime!)
But, in the meantime, the Milkweed has bloomed and mostly faded, and the Echinacea and Bee Balm have come into gorgeous flower. These guys were all top plants on the Native Pollinator Plant list on our last blog. (Click here if you missed it!) I can totally see why they were included!
Milkweed, or Asclepias, burst into globes of charming, mauvey pink flowers that smell so sweetly, like lilac. Even better, though, was that I saw these guys:
Monarch Caterpillars! Hooray for Monarchs! I also saw loads of bees about, and I saw Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds buzz around a couple times.
Now the Milkweed flowers are mostly spent, and they are starting to sprout their pods. (Just one more reason to love Milkweed-- who doesn’t love to float silky seeds in the air each fall?) But, just because the Milkweed’s bloom is over, that doesn’t mean that pollinators have nowhere to turn, because these two beauties are in full flower!
Echinacea, or Coneflower, has been bred to have some stunning, vivid hues, but its native form is a beautiful splash of color in its own right. I’ve seen all these different bees and butterflies - like a Great Spangled Fritillary (that name!), that stands in one spot and rotates around the plant to get all of the flower nectar. It has this amazing flexible coiled tongue that worked like a sewing machine needle, in and out of each little flower tube. So cool!
I’ve seen bees on the Bee Balm and Wild Bergamot (both are Monardas), but I’ve also seen the hummingbirds around the Bee Balm. Hummingbirds are really drawn to the color red – which is why they offer red dyed hummingbird food, which is NOT good for hummingbirds. If you want to attract hummingbirds, make your own nectar – or better yet, plant these beautiful flowers they love! (Read here about making your own, safe hummingbird nectar.)
Oh – I also posted an update to the Sun Tea blog – after making it for a while, I realized I had a few tips to add, so check that out for easy, delicious summer refreshment!
Enjoy the sunshine!