Clematis is a genus of about 300 species belonging to the buttercup family. Native to China, new cultivars are being produced constantly with varieties that bloom in spring, summer and even double blooming varieties. A woody, climbing vine, they prefer cool, moist well drained soil and full sun. There are varieties that will survive in the cold of hardiness zone 3 and those that will thrive in the tropical heat of zone 11. A beautiful, big, showy
flower that the bees love.
Columbine (Aquilegia) is a genus of about 60-70 species of perennial plants found in the meadows and woodlands at higher altitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. This plant will grow in full sun but prefers partial shade, grows to a height of 15-20 inches (35-55 cm), likes well drained soil and is hardy to zone 3. It comes in a variety of colours and florets, can be propagated from seed and will self seed and blooms from late spring to early summer.
The brightly coloured Corydalis is a great shade plant. It comes in many colours, likes moist organic soil, is shade tolerant, deer resistant, grows in hardiness zones 4-9, grows to a height of 60 cms (24 inches) and self seeds but is controllable. The flowers are fragrant and attract bees and butterflies.
Cosmos are herbaceous, perennial plants that come in a variety of colours and sizes. They like a full sun, will grow a half to 1.5 metres (18-60 inches) in height and bloom from summer to fall. Deadhead the plants to prolong flowering and taller varieties may have to be staked. They will self seed so occasionally may have to be separated.
A wonderful early spring flower that comes in a variety of colours (pink, red, orange, yellow, purple, blue ...). There is also a lesser known autumn variety. The bulbs or corms are planted in the fall before the ground freezes and will naturalize and spread, coming back year after year. They like a part to full sun, grow in planting zones 3-8 and though they prefer good drainage will grow in any type of soil.
With over 23,000 species the Daisy family or Compositae (Asteraceae) is probably the largest family of flowering plants. These include Dahlia, Chrysanthemum, Aster and Calendula but in this case we will discuss only those referred to as a daisy. The Saxon name for the common Daisy is "day's eye" because they noted that at night the petals close over the interior yellow or sun only to open again at the start of a new day. They come in a wide variety of colours and range in size from 30-150 cms (1-5 ft). They are easy to grow, will tolerate most soil types and they prefer full sun. They should be deadheaded (spent blossoms removed) to prolong flowering and should be divided every 3-5 years. In the coldest climates cover the plants with a thick layer of mulch. The daisy above is the Shasta daisy which I don't remember planting (volunteer) and through division has produced about a dozen offspring. It grows to a height of 5 ft and is a favourite of aphid farming ants. The Daisy provides forage for both the honey and native bees.
Deutzia (Strawberry Fields)
Deutzia is a genus of about 60 species of shrubs in the Hydrangeaceae family native to Asia, Europe and Central America with China having over 50 different species. This particular Deutzia (Strawberry Fields) likes a full sun, grows 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 mts) in height, blooms for us in June and will grow in hardiness zones 5-9. When is bloom the Deutzia is covered in native and honey bees.
Echinacea or Purple Coneflower is in the daisy family and native to eastern and northern North America. It's large flowers (not just purple anymore - new varieties) are particularly attractive to all of the pollinators. They will grow in hardiness zones 3-8 and there are even varieties that will tolerated the heat and humidity of zones 9 and 10. Echinacea prefers full sun but will tolerate part shade, should be deadheaded (spent flowers removed) to encourage repeat blooming and for us is particularly important as a late summer (September-October) food source for the bees.
There are many different varieties of Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis Arvensis) but most have 5 lobed blue, pink or white flowers with yellow centres. They grow to a height of 6-18 inches (15-45 cms), will tolerate partial shade, prefer moist habitats, will bloom from mid spring to mid summer and can be invasive in wetland areas. The seed pods are found at the stem of the flower, attach to clothing when brushed against and eventually fall off to germinate in a new location. In my garden it is a controllable volunteer.
In Evangeline, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote,
Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of Heaven,
Blossom the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
The Bigroot Cranesbill geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) is a vigorous 6-12 inch (15-30 cm) high ground cover that can bloom from late spring to summer. It likes partial to full sun, a neutral ph soil and will grow in hardiness zones 3a-9a. It can be propagated by dividing the tubers. The bees like this plant but it does not flower for a long period of time.
Geranium (Johnson's Blue)
This hardy, himalayan Johnson's Blue geranium will grow 12-18 inches (30-45cm) high, likes partial to full sun and will tolerate most soil ph conditions. It blooms from spring to summer and can be grown in hardiness zones 3a-8b. It can be propogated by division of the rootball. I love this plant because it is blue (my favourite colour) and because it flowers longer than the cranesbill geranium above.
Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria) which is sometimes called ground elder, herb gerard, bishop's weed and snow-in-the-mountains is a perennial plant in the carrot family that can be extremely invasive. It is native to Eurasia, spreads by underground rhizomes and is difficult to stop once it has started. However, like most invasive plants it is a favourite of bees and butterflies. My suggestion is do not plant Goutweed.
Heather (Calluna Vulgaris) is a low growing perennial shrub native to Europe and Asia Minor. The plant usually grows 20-50 centimetres (7.5-20 inches) in height, likes acidic soils and full to partial sun conditions. There are many varieties with most being either pink, purple or white in colour. Some varieties bloom in late summer but ours, referred to as "Winter Heather" blooms in early spring providing an early season food source for the bees. Heather will grow in hardiness zones 4-8.