Like a thousand tiny lanterns flickering here and there amongst the fading light, the Fireflies made a rousing return to the evening landscape.  Their debut seemed celebratory, and we were a captive audience.  As the night sky deepened and darkened, their numbers seemed to multiply, not to be outdone by the star studded sky.

Today is the official first day of Summer, and nothing conveys the season like the sight of Fireflies or Lightning Bugs, as we are apt to call them, and our recent bouts of rain have attracted them to our yards and gardens.

This week we also celebrate National Pollinator Week, which is now in its 10th year.  It’s a wonderful time to revisit the importance of pollinators and how best to support them.

Pollinators include birds, bees, butterflies, bats and some moths and wasps.  In addition to offering a diverse pallet of pollinator-friendly plants, including native species, that provide continual blooms from Spring to Fall, it’s also important to employ garden management tactics that help support them:

  • Consider adding “host” plants, which pollinators will use to lay and feed their young.  Check out Specific plants for specific hosts.
  • If possible, eliminate the use of pesticides and be willing to accept some insect damage to some plants.  If pesticides must be used, look to less toxic varieties, and use in the evening when pollinators are less active.
  • Purchase plants that are NOT treated with neonicotinoids.  Read labels and ask questions if unsure.
  • Leave bare patches of earth where ground nesting bees can shelter.
  • Add non-flowering plants and grasses that provide nesting and overwintering habitats.
  • If possible, leave downed logs, stems and leaf litter for additional nesting and overwintering habitats.  Additionally, consider not cutting back your perennials in Fall for the same reasons.
  • Provide fresh water and replenish daily to prevent water from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

I realize the above management practices may not be terribly realistic for all home gardeners, so keep in mind creating and maintaining balance between beauty, sanity and the support of pollinators and wildlife should be the goal, and is absolutely attainable!  Feel free to reach out to Sweeney’s for more information on creating and maintaining a pollinator-friendly landscape.

Plant of the Week

Butterfly Bush Miss Violet

Beautiful compact shrub with fragrant, vibrant purple-blue spiky flowers that bloom June – October on 12″ stems.  Prefers sun and moist, well-drained soil.  Grows 4-6′ tall and 4-6′ wide.  Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.  Deer and rabbit resistant.  Drought tolerant.

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney