Mid-March to early April on the farmette brings the celebration of birthdays and the promise of new selections of flowers for our spring gardens. This year, our new plants are old varieties.



A fellow-gardener friend gave me a selection of antique flowers for pollinators that included Bee Balm, Sweet Alyssum, Prickly Poppy, Sunflowers, and Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate. These will go in various flower beds around our property.



Honeybees make a nice sundown snack for marauding skunks and raccoons

Honeybees at work on a frame of wax



Pollinators include many species of bees. We want them in our gardens to pollinate our fruits, vegetables, berries, and nut crops. Planting open-pollinated flowers enable pollinators to forage for pollen and nectar (their sources of food). When we provide rich food sources for pollinators, our food crops will benefit.


At a time when bee populations are declining worldwide, gardeners everywhere can help the besieged bees by planting diverse, open-pollinated varieties of pollen- and nectar-rich flowers. The following flower selection are considered old garden mainstays.


Bee Balm–”Bergamo”  Monarda hybrida

This perennial likes sun to light shade and soil that is moist, and well-drained. The plant will reach two feet tall and will bloom summer to fall. It attracts both hummingbirds and bees.


Sweet Alyssum–”Benthalmii” Lobularia maritima

Alyssum is an annual that likes full sun but part shade in the hottest areas of hte garden. Soil preferences is rich, moist, and well-drained. It reaches a height of ten inches and small white blooms form summer to fall. It will flower repeatedly if it is clipped back after flowering.


Prickly Poppy–”Busy Bee” Argemone platyceras

A sun lover like all poppies, this one is an annual that loves poor, dry, gravelly soil. It will grow to three feet and bloom throughout the summer into fall. It does have prickly spines, so care must be taken to avoid contact with the spines.



Sunflowers come in a range of sizes

Sunflowers come in a range of sizes



Sunflowers–”Pan,” Helianthus debilis, subspecies: cucumerifolius

Another sun lover, this annual thrives in rich, well-drained soil. Plants will reach three feet in height and bloom summer through the fall. These sunflowers make excellent cut flowers.


Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate–”  Polylgonum orientale

This annual will go at the back of the garden since it reaches a height of six to seven feet. It likes well-drained, moist, rich soil that is located in full sun. The plants bloom summer throughout the fall and self-sows.





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