Salvia nemorosa ‘Snow Hill’ for Pollinator Week – Get Close to Your Insects


Epargyreus clarus, Silver Spotted Skipper

We Got Bees – Lots of Them!

If our little bee from last post did not convince you, this post pictorially tells you why this Salvia is a good garden addition. The plant will be teeming with all kinds of pollinators from dawn until dusk. It is a nectar rich plant and can fill up those pollen baskets as well, after all, June 17 -23 is Pollinator Week. Nothing like adding a few plants that will be a pleasing haven, like you saw last post, those tubular flowers of Penstemon are a great plant to add.


If Penstemon puts up a promising sign, Salvia ‘Snow Hill’ will throw out the welcome mat. It is a pretty and well-behaved plant that will bloom for a very long time, keeping the pollinators happy through the growing seasons. Cut it back early to mid summer, and you will have blooms into fall.


In the front garden, it is one of the first big bloomers to welcome in Summer.

I usually don’t profile plants because they will not perform as well in all climates. I always mention this because as a designer so as to not mislead readers into thinking a great plant in my location will necessarily perform as nicely somewhere else.



Scabiosa and Carpenter Bee

It blooms with Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’, Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’, Digitalis purpurea alba, and a number of other plants, like Delphinium getting ready to flower.

DelphiniumBudsThe little fly was an eye catcher.


This Salvia is in the garden because it is a great plant to bring in the wildlife. Like any Salvia, the foliage when crushed, has a nice fragrance.


It is a moderately sized, compact plant at about 16 inches high, and grows wider to almost three feet. It can fall out from the center after a heavy rain, so it is best to plant it densely to keep the tall flower spikes erect. I have iris planted adjacent and the leaves help keep the light-weight Salvia from toppling.


It will tolerate moist with decent drainage and dry soils, but prefers it on the drier side. I have used this plant at client’s properties massed out. I also have combined it with lavender which makes a nice showing. At properties that have deer and rabbits visiting, it is a plant of which these animals are not very fond.


Make sure to locate it in a sunny spot. It lives in zone 4a-8b, my garden is 6b, bordering on a 7a micro climate. It is incredibly reliable here too, always coming back. It can be divided in spring when it gets too large. I also have the blues, ‘May Knight’ and ‘East Friesland’, but a reader did not ask about them – I guess because I showed the Salvia, but did not note the name.


I am giving you how this plant has performed for me in my climate. I have very heavy clay soil and it is doing quite well here, despite liking a freer draining soil. I don’t think it likes fertilizers but I do use compost and cow manure on the garden in spring.


I am very fond of moonlight gardens in all white and this is one plant that I will use when designing them. It has a great textural presence in the garden and plays off deeper colored and larger leafed plants.


A very handsome bee.

Even though the flower stalks are erect, it does not have a spiky form in the garden design. It is soft and rounded.



Epargyreus clarus, Silver Spotted Skipper

Just enjoy the closeup photos of the insects enjoying the Salvia. It brings a joy and peace to the garden seeing all the buzzing, fluttering and flapping, plus I think a few are kinda pretty. Notice I did not call these images macro – too much is in focus in most of them. They were taken with a zoom lens, not my macro lens.


Look at that bulging pollen basket on our industrious Bumble!


Nothing like a hard-working plant… just a little bee humor. Not very considerate of the bee three images below. Another definition of bee bombing. Have you seen that post? It is a sequence of bees hunting each other down. I do photograph a lot of bees and Bee Bombing has some of my best sequence photographs.


Wool Carder Bee

In that post was another hard-working plant, Caryopteris ‘Longwood Blue’. It attracts pollinators just as vigorously as Salvia nemorosa.


Wool Carder Bee

These Caryopteris and Salvia are not native to NYS for you purists. Here is the list of NYS native plants. One cannot deny that either plant works ten times harder at attracting and feeding pollinators, and honestly, that is the point.

Bee Humor

The other kind of Bee Bombing… just plain rude if you are asking me. See the bee below in the line of fire? Incoming…


More bee humor. Mooning the competition.


Help our pollinators. Check out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service site for their helpful links and tips too. Good to know our government cares. Like me, want to know what type and color of flower attracts what pollinator?


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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46 Responses to Salvia nemorosa ‘Snow Hill’ for Pollinator Week – Get Close to Your Insects

  1. Phil Lanoue says:

    Bees are great! Our bee and butterfly population is sadly down considerably this year.

  2. Barbie says:

    Love love your bee photos. You manage to get them so sharp!! Love it! Hope we see as many as you when our spring arrives!

  3. Pat says:

    Fabulous shots of the little pollinators that visit your garden.

  4. Sonja Daniel (zooperson) says:

    Those photos are phenomenal! I’ve never heard of bee bombing so I looked at your examples and well, it just knocked my socks off! Rude little buggers to say the least, but what an eyeful to watch/see. What lens were you using? Sonja

    • I made up bee bombing. It just seemed appropriate when I wrote the previous post. I was surprised at how much attacking of each other they were doing. It was like there were not enough flowers, yet there was. I was using a 28-300mm lens.

  5. Graziella says:

    The eyes on that butterfly remind me of sew-on faux jewellery you get on 80’s clothes! The picture of the bee where you got the camera shine in its eye (Image 17) is brilliant. All pictures stand out, did you use a zoom lens for all of them, I always wondered if you could get such shots using a macro lens without getting stung!

    • I mostly use the macro lens on insects that will ‘stay’ for me. I have a 105mm which means I don’t have to be in their face. I am just too lax on switching out the lenses for the most part. Often I will use what I have already on the camera. The 17-35mm wide angle lens is used for closeups on occasion. The insects today were all with the 28-300mm.

  6. Beautiful action shots! I too am a big fan of salvia for its ability to attract pollinators. You plant pairings are great too.

    • Thank you Karen. I am glad to see you again. I have been reading what you post on FB, but I really do not participate there often. Your comment here went to spam for some reason. I should have used my 105mm for these shots, but was too lazy to go inside to switch out the lenses. I can see you are having great success with your new macro 105mm.

  7. Your visitors were happy to oblige!!! I can’t tell you enough times how beautiful your shots are, Donna!!

  8. Great bee pictures. It’s irrational, I know, but for me Salvia has to be blue.

  9. P.E.A.C.E. says:

    Thank you for sharing these gorgeous photos, and I loved your bee humor too! Gina

  10. Love the bee bombing and the bee humor! I have two patches of Purple Sage Salvia and it was covered with pollinators the other day! It’s about to the point where I need to deadhead for repeat blooms. I have it placed on the west side of my house–so it gets shade until midday, and then hot, baking sun until early evening. It seems to thrive in that strange microclimate, too.

  11. Sadly, I don’t have enough sun for a bee garden now. Love all the salvias. Have you tried African blue basil?

  12. LOVE IT! Especially your little Megachile…one of my favourite genera. 😀

  13. I am loving your blog. I am a daily gardener and love to find beautiful garden blogs. I have to add you to my blog roll so I can never miss a post. Beautiful!!

    • Thank you very much Elaine. You can always become a subscriber, one of 2,658 other followers. The follow button is in the sidebar. If a WP user, you can turn off email alerts if you choose and just check for new posts in the WP Reader.

  14. Wonderful images as always. I hate to be dense, but what are the drops coming off that one bee?

    • Honestly, I was not sure myself, so I Googled “Do bees urinate?” This was the ‘best response’ according to Yahoo. Answer: “Yes, all living things urinate, it is a natural function of bodies, most people do not see bees pee because it is only a drop or 2 because of how small they are, you were lucky and unlucky enough to witness something that most people will not see in their entire lives.” The person questioning got peed on by a group of bees in a tree above.

  15. Very nice, been trying to capture a few as well 🙂

  16. I love this salvia in my garden as much as the pollinators…I have a few other salvias that are huge hits too. I hope to divide my salvia and add it to the white garden once I weed a bit more.

  17. b-a-g says:

    I would have had pollen-rich salvias for the bees this summer … if the slugs hadn’t eaten them. (Still trying to take a photo of a bee. You make it look so easy.)

  18. Happy to see the pollinators enjoyed Pollinator Week as much as we did! And I do believe bees have a sense of humour!

  19. A.M.B. says:

    I love the bee photos! The salvia looks lovely in your garden.

  20. Fergiemoto says:

    I love your bee humor!
    Our bee and butterfly population isn’t near what I have seen in previous years. Very sad.

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