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.
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.
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.
Even though the flower stalks are erect, it does not have a spiky form in the garden design. It is soft and rounded.
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.
In that post was another hard-working plant, Caryopteris ‘Longwood Blue’. It attracts pollinators just as vigorously as Salvia nemorosa.
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.
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?