Rewarding the pollinators (or a gratuitous bee photo post)

Malva sylvestris

I was reading the latest edition of The English Garden (pure eye-candy) and the final essay was a plea from Sarah Raven to remember insects when planting your gardens. This is less crucial in Edmonton because we are blessed with extensive urban parkland, but here in New York, where parks with gardens can be farther apart, it’s important to remember to put a little something in your window box or rooftop garden for bees, butterflies, moths, and other nectar lovers. Common bedding plants such as impatiens, begonias, double-petaled dahlias and many of the pelargoniums (commonly referred to as geraniums) are nectar-less, but Sarah recommends simply swapping in a few single-petaled dahlias or introducing some herbs like lavender. Planting a flowering herb pot is really a win-win: along with lavender, bees love the flowers of basil, chives, oregano and anise hyssop, to name a few. Of course, those who stray more towards the cottage garden style (like myself) will have no problem as most of your old-fashioned favorites like roses, bachelor buttons, cosmos, delphiniums and larkspur, malva and lavatera, and of course, sunflowers, all provide necessary sweetness.

Bachelor buttons

Alright fine, maybe this public service announcement wasn’t entirely altruistic. It’s possible I was really just looking for another excuse to post pictures of flowers with bees. I can’t help myself, they’re just so adorable. Who wouldn’t want them in their garden (especially if you want to grow tomatoes!)?

Single-petaled dahlia

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