Bulbs forum: bulbs...for bees, butterflies, fragrance...and...???

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Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Miniature Gardening Organic Gardener Frogs and Toads Dog Lover
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UrbanWild
Oct 22, 2016 2:44 PM CST
I have ratcheted back a little bit on plants I plan to bring in. Edibles obviously, but others must perform on multiple categories such as:

--beauty
--bees/butterflies
--multi-season interest
--special foodplant of certain animals
--LONG flowering season (some exceptions apply)
--fragrance
--very early/very late season plants
--nothing invasive
--evergreen?
--rarity?
--nostalgia? I'm contemplating growing some sunflowers I one worked on which came off the endangered species list a few years back
--and some special characteristics for some areas...like salt tolerant near the street, drought tolerant in some areas, shade tolerant in others, etc. etc. ad naseum..

also part of earlier considerations was obviously stuff I got free from others nearby (not bulbs but 2 people with hosta splits coming in spring!), tactical/structural plants (like roses to control traffic, sitting on sensitive yard area, and people who don't clean up after their dogs)

So...suggestions? I love daffodils but they tend not to be frequented by pollinators and not fragrant...so would consider others first. I bought some tulips but they don't seem to have much bee traffic and little butterfly attention.

BTW, Some time ago I did buy:

1 bag 0f 100 crocus large flowering mix (photo shows purple, yellow, & white),
1 bag 0f 100 crocus 'spring beauty',

1 bag 0f 60 iris 'harmony',

1 bag 0f 100 anemone 'St. Brigid' mix (purple, lavender, pink, white, red),
1 bag 0f 100 anemone mix of 'The Admiral' & 'Lord Lieutenant',
1 bag 0f 100 anemone mix of 'The Governor' & 'Mount Everest',
1 bag 0f 100 anemone mix of 'Sylphide' & 'Mr. Fokker',

1 bag 0f 28 hyacinth 'Shades of Blue',
1 bag 0f 28 hyacinth "fierce mix" (white, pink, lavender, purple, light red),
1 bag 0f 28 hyacinth mix of 'Pink Pearl' & 'Blue Star',

1 bag 0f 50 tulip mix of 'Carnaval De Nice' & 'Midnight Magic', &

2 bags 0f 100 Muscari latifolium

From a friend I got a load of NOID glads & two colors of liatris.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
[Last edited by UrbanWild - Oct 22, 2016 2:47 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1303518 (1)
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Region: United States of America Bookworm Echinacea Seed Starter Region: Alabama
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Kabby
Oct 22, 2016 5:13 PM CST
Urban I know I'm in a much warmer zone than you but right off the bat I can vouch for some of your choices.
1. Muscari, I saw a bee on one in Feb! I was sitting in a chair admiring the early blooms and there it was. I also saw a Tiger swallowtail early on too, but I couldn't tell you what it nectared on.
2 Anemone Mr Fokker and Sulphide. I fiddled and I delayed and I soaked them and abused the corms? until I couldn't delay any longer on planting them. They are gorgeous! Petals like satin.
3. Okay, just a few daffs with stomp down fragrance, Avalanche, Erlicheer, Sir Winston Churchill, Cheerfulness. I would pollinate if I was so inclined. Whistling Hilarious!
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William
Oct 28, 2016 3:50 AM CST
For next autumn I'd suggest planting some snowdrops between your hosta. They like the same conditions and share the same space very well. When the snowdrops foliage starts to yellow the hosta foliage develops to hide them.

The snowdrops in the picture have been planted with hosta for many years, so I know this combo is good. In mild winters snowdrops can be in bud very early and look good for a very long time. 'S. Arnott' is a cultivar that is supposed to be fragrant, but the common snowdrop is much less costly. Needs early planting as the bulbs are susceptible to drying out. Dried bulbs = very disappointing results.



Corydalis solida 'George P. Baker' is not the longest blooming spring bulb, but it has a very eye catching color in the spring garden. I don't know if you have bumble bees where you are, but if you look at the picture above you can see the puncture marks where the large bumble bees have pierced the flowers from the outside to get to the nectar as the flower is to small for them to fit in. This tells a good story about how much they liked this early food source. The advantage with Corydalis solida is that the foliage dies back very quickly and that it prefers a shadier spot and the tuber tolerates summer moisture. So it will mix well with other shade plants. That said Corydalis solida 'George P. Baker' may not be as vigorous as some other Corydalis, so it could be worth trying a few to see what grows best for you.

Allium 'Globe Master' is sterile so blooms a lot longer than many other large flowered Alliums. Extremely showy. Being sterile doesn't stop it from being a good nectar source and it attracts a nice variety of insects. Does need a sunny spot in well drained soil. Seed heads look good for a while too. Probably best with annual lifting and dividing as the large bulbs tend to dwindle in size if not given adequate space and fertilizer. Being dry in summer promotes healthy bulbs.

I planted Allium 'Summer Beauty' this autumn, so don't know at all how it will perform, but it supposed to be long blooming and very attractive to butterflies. This one is also sterile and in contrast to most other Allium the foliage remains throughout the season and well into winter, or so I read. Anyway mine are still green.

Cyclamen hederifolium seems to be happiest under deciduous trees and tolerates root competition well. Doesn't like summer moisture, but wants sun in the winter. It is a lovely autumn blooming tuber, some selections are scented and it can remain in bloom for a long time if weather is coolish. I feel some scent from some of my common ones as well, but I needed to stick my nose in it! While it can take very cold temperatures, its long term performance is questionable in cold winter climates as it has foliage through the winter, so maybe not the right choice for you. Still I feel it needs mentioning as it is a true favorite. I've mostly seen hover flies on it.

Finally a scented tulip. 'Brown Sugar' fills the air with a nice sweet scent on warm days. I dig mine annually for summer storage, so don't know how it does if left in the ground. However every bulb planted produced one very large bulb and a few smaller ones. This is almost ideal tulip behavior in my book. You will have bloom in subsequent years and still increase your stocks Thumbs up
[Last edited by William - Oct 28, 2016 3:52 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1307446 (3)
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
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gemini_sage
Oct 29, 2016 7:14 AM CST
A late bloomer I'm finding particularly delightful right now is Crocus speciosus. The bees love them as much as spring crocuses. This is my 3rd year growing them and they're showing increase. Probably too late to plant this year- they're shipped earlier than other bulbs, usually early September and will bloom a few weeks after planting.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Mika
Oxfordshire, England and Mento
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Foliage Fan Critters Allowed Daylilies Irises Roses
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cliftoncat
Oct 29, 2016 7:49 AM CST
Bees here really love alliums - for an early bee magnet that is a bit different and blooms for a long while, there is allium bulgaricum

Thumb of 2016-10-29/cliftoncat/1e2973

They also love all the later, big alliums like gladiator, ambassador, gigantium...

Thumb of 2016-10-29/cliftoncat/145e94

Echinops ritro
Thumb of 2016-10-29/cliftoncat/3cab0d Thumb of 2016-10-29/cliftoncat/0ddc68


And they go for salvias, too (here, s. nemerosa East Friesland and s. farinacea Sallyfun Blue)

Thumb of 2016-10-29/cliftoncat/da9811 Thumb of 2016-10-29/cliftoncat/7673b0


Sorry, not all bulbs of course.


[Last edited by cliftoncat - Oct 29, 2016 7:50 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1308287 (5)
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Region: United States of America Bookworm Echinacea Seed Starter Region: Alabama
Plant and/or Seed Trader Dog Lover Birds Hummingbirder Butterflies Tropicals
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Kabby
Oct 29, 2016 5:14 PM CST
Wow, Mika that echinops bee magnet is something else!
Name: Mika
Oxfordshire, England and Mento
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Foliage Fan Critters Allowed Daylilies Irises Roses
Hostas Birds Multi-Region Gardener Cat Lover Dog Lover Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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cliftoncat
Oct 30, 2016 12:42 AM CST
Yes, they really like echinops. To be honest, I was just buying plants that I liked and only realised later that the bees share my taste! Hilarious! Now I'm trying to buy plants to encourage more butterflies - with help from the lovely butterflies forum people. Smiling

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