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Show ##27/7301. Monarch Butterflies & Pollinator Gardens

Seeds That Attract Pollinators To A Garden & When Those Plants Bloom

Jim mainly wanted to attract pollinators to his garden, which of course were the butterflies and the bees. Of course the wildflower seeds attract thousands of birds into the gardens. Eric would like for Jim to talk about some of the insects and birds in his garden that he's able to attract every year. Well, of course butterflies, there are 20 species of butterflies here at all times. And they have bees, he loves honeybees. They have beehives producing honey, so bees are everywhere. They also have other kind of bees. The pollinators feed on the flowers to get the nectar and the pollen, then use the nectar for their nourishment and the pollen is usually transferred on their feet, their legs or their mouth from one flower to the other to pollinate all of the flowers that are here. But the pollinator population is going down. It's decreasing, not increasing, which concerns Jim greatly. And of course, we want to build a habitat in the gardens that attracts more and more butterflies and bees. This particular garden was one big, huge addition of 15 acres to do just that.

Eric would like for Jim to expand on the thought about the seeds Jim looks at from a standpoint of planning a good pollinator garden. Jim works with Garrett Seed Company and together they've designed a pollinator mix, a wildflower seed mix. What he does is mix nine varieties of perennial flowers. So, in the mix they have four kinds of Coreopsis varieties. Those are all in yellow colors, beautiful. And they make a big display. The Lance-leaved Coreopsis is the first to bloom in the spring, followed by the Plains Coreopsis. And then you have the narrow leaf sunflowers that would be blooming, as well as the bee balm, which is the spotted bee balm. Black-eyed Susans and Coneflowers are great, and you're also going to have burr marigolds that work well. He wanted a design, starting in April, that every three or four weeks would have new flowers blooming for their beauty and to attract pollinators. Then you go into the next month. From April through November, eight months, all these flowers are blooming and attract most all of the bees and butterflies here, except for the monarch but you know they're coming in as they travel north, coming through North Georgia to visit. And then when they're returning from the north coming back south, they visit again. Some of Jim's favorites as a child were the large Yellow Tiger Swallowtail and the large Eastern Black Swallowtail. They're big and showy. And the thing about them, they are here for five months and during that time they make a big show. Children love them and the families love them, too. The monarchs are only here about two weeks in the spring then two to three weeks in the fall so they make a big difference then.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Dan Heims, President, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Terra Nova’s breeders have created a series of outstanding world-class echinaceas that are consistent in size, bloom power, color intensity and are a pollinator buffet. What’s not to like. To learn more, click here for an interesting article.

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