Late Season Flowers

And Good For Pollinators Too

Aside from the beautiful fall foliage colors there’s not much color elsewhere.  Chrysanthemum seems to be abundant in autumn but I’m not a fan of it.  I associate it with mourning.  It’s commonly used in funerals and to arrange on a wreath.  So, I don’t plant chrysanthemum in our garden.  We still have plenty of choices for autumn blooming plants and many of them are good for pollinators as well.

I bought Alyssum seed only the first couple of years, now they just come up every year.  Cute little flowers that hug the ground, tolerate light frost and smell like honey as a plus.

White Alyssum seems to self sow much more commonly than the purple variety

Aster is one of the flowers that can lend a helping hand in autumn.  Both native bees and honey bees love it.

I group different colors of Aster together. The white one is a weed though, White heath aster

I put two Maximillion Sunflowers in the garden two years ago, now I have a growing patch of it.  It blooms when other sunflowers start to fade.  It’s a perennial so I don’t have to seed it every year but I will have to divide it next spring as the patch is getting too large for the space.

Flowers are great for pollinators and the finches love the seeds

Fall crocus is also a great pollinator food source.  I’ve seen some bees attempt to pry open the flowers before they have fully opened.

This crocus flowers in late summer and early autumn instead of spring

Moonflower will bloom from mid summer on.  If the weather is warm enough it will keep going.  Its large, white, fragrant flower blooms in the evening.  And, the flower is edible too.

I have this one trailing over our toolshed door.

Calendula is perfect for sunny spots and it self sows.  Its flower is edible as well.

It comes in shades of yellow and orange.

About weeds.  Many weeds are quite beautiful and provide pollen and nectar as well.  I make sure that they don’t overrun the garden.  Goldenrod, with it’s bright yellow flower is a great source of pollen and nectar in late autumn.  It will grow any place that the seeds drop, even between cracks.  I have to pull a lot of them out each spring, sprouting in the wrong place, and it’s the only work I have to do to keep it around.

Once it’s established in the garden it’s very difficult to get rid off. It’s much easier to confine it to one place by cutting spent flowers off so they won’t sprout all over the garden

I don’t know where the first White Heath Aster came from but it has settled in our garden now.  I don’t mind at all.  I just think of it as an aster that is waiting for humans to see its potential.  I do, especially when I see honeybees, Hover fly, Bumblebee and many other small local bees on it’s flowers.

White Heath Aster is just another aster that hasn’t received very many ‘likes’ yet

There are a few more late summer-autumn flowers that are easy to grow and good for pollinators I would like to mentioned.  Until next time.

 

 

Growing Moonflower

Moonflower seedlings

Moonflower opens at dusk

Though it’s still cold and windy outside, it’s time to start germinating flowers and vegetables inside and get them ready for planting next month.  Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) is one of them.  I have been growing Moonflowers for years.  Both of us love to have fragrant flowers in the garden, merely beautiful flowers just won’t do.  A flower without a scent is like a woman who dresses nicely but has nothing else to offer beyond that.  So, 95% of the flowers in our garden are fragrant, differing only in a matter of degrees.

We grow flowers that  perfume our garden all day, but during the work week we are only able to enjoy them in the evening.  That’s when the Moonflowers come into the picture.  The flowers start to unfurl like a beach umbrella at dusk.  You can literately see them opening.  The pure white, six inch in diameter flower is equipped with a sweet, soothing perfume.  The flowers look even more magical under the moonlight.
Moonflower seeds sprouting on a paper towel

I soak the hard seeds for 3 to 4 hours then put them between damp paper towels.  A couple layers of towel at the bottom and cover them with two layers on top.  Make sure the papers stay damp but not soaked.  Their little roots will start to come out in two days.  Once the root comes out you can put them in the soil in individual containers or right in the ground if it is warm enough outside.  The seedlings will push themselves above the soil in a few days.  For us, we’ll have to wait for the weather to warm up outside.

I start all the beans and peas this way, they germinate faster than just putting them right in the soil.  It saves time and doesn’t waste any space for the non-germinating seeds.  The Moonflowers below are on our kitchen counter now, waiting to be transplanted or adopted by our friends.

Three days after being given their own space to germinate