Forage

In creating this Nature Sanctuary here we’ve tried to include as many creature friendly plant as possible. Primarily this means feeding the bees, birds, butterflies and squirrels where we are. No deer to contend with thankfully, here in the city, tho sometimes the raccoons squash things. I don’t know if they’re eating them too. Probably. Oh well, everybody has to eat, eh?

In no particular order I’ve included many of the things I’ve planted that attract bees in particular, since they’re in such a bad state now I want to do all I can to help them out here in this small oasis. But the butterflies and the hummers are my favorites, especially the hummers when they play in the water when I do the garden. It’s grand to watch them dancing around.

Some of these plants are annuals, some are perennials and some are shrubs and even small trees. I didn’t include pines or large confers but their cones will provide food in time to come as they get bigger. I did include berries since they provide good food for many creatures. It’s cool to watch the squirrels go after the sunflowers or the Irish Yew berries. And they all like the Bee Balm.

I’ve labeled them all so you can tell what they are, and I think you’ll be able to tell just what draws what by virtue of the kind of flower it has. The tubular ones draw the hummers best tho they also love the bee balm. And the bees go absolutely crazy over a few things like the Oregano and the Jade Frost Eryngium that are both covered it them when they’re in season. Of course all the flowers love the bees, and vice versa.

I’ve tried to include a bunch of natives, from the west coast and from the rest of the US too. The huckleberry, the western azalea, the windflower, the coneflower and the manzanita are some examples of these. We also have many plants that provide cover for the birds in particular and that will only increase as the trees grow and the shrubs get larger. Already the hedge along the north side is alive with birds year round. It’s so cool…

The last part of a Forager’s Garden is water, and tho I didn’t show pictures of them we have a fountain in back and a water bath in front so both areas have that precious commodity to offer even it winter. We froze our fountain this year because it got so cold but we still put hot water in it to allow the birds some fresh water as needed even in the freezing weather. The cats like it too.. 😉

Of course I did include the bird feeders. Louie takes care of them all and does a great job of keeping the hummer water fresh and feeds the birds several times every day to make sure they always have plenty to eat. Right now the suet holders are empty since it’s warmed up a bit, but in winter we keep them full as well. The birds and the squirrels love the high protein mixes they provide.

This is the part of the garden that really interacts with the rest of the creatures that live here. I think it’s so cool to have all them in the garden and Louie and I spend hours just watching the birds and butterflies and even the bees when they’re around. It feels good to provide a haven for them and it enriches our own experience so much.

These are all plants that I’ve personally watched the creatures munch on so I know they work here. But it may be different where you live. I highly recommend that you try to find out what plants work best in your area for the critters. You’ll be glad you did!

Feeding the birds, bees, and butterflies!

Steve

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Steve, I love all the blooms in your yard! Here I thought you had mostly evergreens…..how beautiful! 🙂 What a haven for the wildlife……your garden has such a variety! Years ago I had seen a prostrate rosemary for sale and I didn’t buy it. I have often wished I would have because I haven’t run across one since. Love the form of it and the scent of rosemary is one of my favorites. Penstemon’s are also some of my favorites…I have a wild one that grows up here that is such a pretty wildflower. They are so dainty. The wallflowers are beautiful….I’ve never grown them…are they hard to grow? A friend talked me into a ninebark years ago because she said the fall foliage is pretty. I haven’t noticed that as much as all kinds of bees really love it. From the teeniest to the large bees. I have left the wild “weeds” on our property for the wildlife and have tried to incorporate many bee plants in the garden….this year I’m trying to step it up even more as it seems the bees problems are getting worse. Looks like it’s up to us gardeners.

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    • Thanks for the kind words, Annie. I do have a lot of evergreens it’s true, and I’ve been focusing on them a lot lately because they’re so predominant in the garden in winter. But I love flowers too and have many flowering plants of all sorts from little 6 inch babies to full sized trees. My prostrate rosemary took quite a hit in the winter this year. I had to prune off 1/2 of it. So if you’re borderline you probably won’t be able to grow it I’m afraid. But it’s worth trying I think. I always think that tho… 😉 The wallflowers are easy to grow but can be invasive and hard to get rid of once you have them. I pulled all mine out finally. But i love them – they smell like cherry Kool Aid… My ninebark has tons of bees on it as does yours. But the prize bee plant is the Jade Frost Eryngium. It’s literally covered with bees of many sorts in late summer and is a florescent purple color. Gorgeous!!! It’s great that you leave a wild area for the bees and also plant for them. I agree that it may be up to gardeners to keep bees alive in our gardens. It’s a real crisis for sure.
      Thanks for visiting!
      Steve

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      • I’m usually able to grow rosemary outside, I think mainly because I’m on a south facing hill and have a little microclimate going on. But this year it looks like the rosemary has taken a hit with the extra cold weather we’ve had. I’m keeping a close eye on it and hoping it makes it through this winter….it’s one of my oldest plants in the garden. 😦 Is the Eryngium the same as a sea holly? I have seen it listed as a great bee plant. Hard to grow? I’m trying a new plant that you might be familiar with since it’s native to the west coast…phacelia. Seems the almond growers are planting rows of this plant to attract pollinators because they love it so much, so I thought I’d give it a try.

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        • My rosemarys are in a south facing bed too. My Tuscan Blue upright also took a bit of a hit this year but not nearly as bad as the prostrate. I think the uprights are hardier from what I’ve seen. I sure hope yours makes it! Good luck… Yes, Eryngium is indeed Sea Holly. Mine’s a variegated form that has lost its variegation and now is mostly green. But it’s the flowers that I love. It also reseeds a bit so watch for little ones coming up. Not hard to pull if you don’t want them. It’s an extraordinary bee plant and grows maybe 3 feet tall. I also plan to grow phacelia this year, tho I haven’t tried it before and wanted to gather more bees too. Good to hear it’s being used for that commercially too. Hope we both have good luck with it! 😉
          Cheers,
          Steve

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  2. A wonderful collection of colour and beauty, Steve. It is amazing what your garden produces, and good to read how everyone in it is cared for.

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    • Thank you Jane. It’s pretty amazing to me too that we can have such a variety of plants in this small space. Ans we love having the birds to watch their antics. They really make it seem wild and natural.
      Thanks for visiting me,
      Steve

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  3. My computer is giving me problems this week:-( I have tried to comment before when I visited ,but my computer is not moving too quickly this week). I stopped by again to try and post. i have this question I wanted to ask about “Takion Blue Campanula”. Can you start that from seed + what is the best place for this plant in my garden. Handle shade?I have wanted one in my garden, but never got around to it. Is this a cultivar? Is it good for bees, spring? I like all your plant selection above!!!!Beautiful. We try to incorporate native plants and create a habitat, but I have never seen anyone do it quite as “perfectly” + “beautifully” as you:-) If I were a bird I would hang in your yard!

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    • Sorry to hear about the computer problems. I hope you get it fixed soon! The Takion Blue is Campanula persicifolia “Takion Blue” and I got a plant of it. But it re-seeds itself like crazy so I’d suspect you could find seeds of a similar variety of some sort. Many of my seedlings have come out white but some are blue so there must be variation in them. Good luck In finding some! The bees here like it but I don’t know if it’s on a list as a “bee plant”. I’m just observing what I see. The Jade Frost is the champion bee drawer tho, and the oregano too. They are simply covered in bees at times, all sorts too. Thanks for your kind comments about the garden. The birds do love it here and we love having them. It’s a mutual appreciation society! 🙂
      Cheers,
      Steve

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      • Thank you for the information:-) Well, it was giving me problems the past week when I do various editing on the computer. We live in an older neighborhood and if everyone is using their computer well I have the lovely slow moving spiral up to the left-lol.So that happens too! It just won’t load. I tried leaving comments on peoples sites and it just won’t work which means I can’t even blog post with wordpress it freezes on me!
        We have old computers we just have a friend rebuild them, so maybe at some point I need more than what I have. We use things till they wear out!

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        • You’re welcome for the info. I hope you can find those seeds you wanted. BTW, they seem to do well in full sun or partial shade for me… I’m lucky in that Louie is a computer freak and knows a lot about them, so he fixes mine, tho I have a MAC and it rarely needs work, so far… He used to work with them as a job and we have about 13 of them around the house going back 30 years or so. They all still work too. We keep things forever too! Its great way to do it. Why toss something out just because it’s getting old? I’d be in bad shape!!! 😉
          Good luck with your computer and your seeds,
          Steve

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