Planting Natives for Hummingbirds, Butterflies & Bees

Native Coral Honeysuckle; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013
Native Coral Honeysuckle; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013

One of my absolutely favorite natives to have around.  This is Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens , not to be confused with the white, invasive Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, the Coral Honeysuckle has no fragrance for humans to enjoy.  But no fragrance is needed for the pollinators.  It will bloom in early spring for the first migrants; then off and on until the first cold snap.  While my original primary interest in the vine was attracting the hummers, I am learning the fruits, when available, will feed Goldfinch, Hermit Thrush, American Robin and Quail.

When looking for this vine to plant, look for the scientific name and watch carefully for the many cultivars that can be found.  Plan to provide support of some kind.   You will not regret adding this to your organic garden.

Blossom, prior to opening
Blossom, prior to opening

 

 

A Wonderful & Versatile Native Shrub

Buttonbush_DBurrows_June2013

We planted this wonderful native down on our dry weather creek for bank stability.  This plant likes/needs wet feet, and is perfect for the task.  This is the Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis.  It can grow to 18′ tall and 10′ wide in full sun.  The blossom looks like a button, as you can see and attracts all the pollinators; look for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to come to it once established.  It is particularly favored by our native bees.  The plant is deciduous, but in my experience, some stems freeze back to the ground. The plant recovers each year to bloom in the summer.  I found that used in a pond environment, any submerged portion will provide habitat for amphibians, reptiles, ducks, and fish.  Some 25 species of birds eat the seeds.  A native worth planting by our creeks and ponds.

Common Buttonbush down at the creek; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013
Buttonbush down at the creek; Photo by D.Burrows, June 2013

This picture shows the “button” later in the season, about to go to seed.

Plant Your Own Butterfly Garden

Butterfly Garden at Still Waters Ranch-Oakridge; May 2013
Butterfly Garden at Still Waters Ranch-Oakridge; May 2013

Many native plants as well as drought tolerant ones are available to use when planting your own butterfly garden or just to have a small blooming area of joy right outside your window.  We planted several colors of Cosmos and Zinnia. In addition, we now have native wildflowers growing up in among the planted seeds, none of which have been disturbed by the deer.  This little garden has been blooming for a couple of months now and has been enjoyed by the butterflies, bees and humans alike.  Why don’t you give it a try and see what you can grow, too!