Peak Bloom Time!

Meander down to visit the chickens and ducks and look past the pen. You’ll see our flower field filled to the brim and buzzing with beautiful life. 

At the Delaware Beekeeper Association, I asked the other beekeepers if they planted flowers every year where they keep bees. It turns out that Highland Orchards is pretty unique. On our farm we have so many fruit trees and shrubs, flowering vegetable plants, and we grow so many cut flowers that we have an overwhelming abundance of pollen and nectar to go around. 

So, here’s the beautiful diversity we encourage with our field-grown cut flowers. 
The best part? We cover all the stops. You can buy bunches for bouquets, or buy the plants yourself to grow your own! That way you can enjoy these pollinators visiting your garden!

Our mix of flowers brings in our incredible mix of pollinators: 
Small native bees: melittid, megachilid, and others including mason bees
Larger carpenter and bumble bees in the Bombidae family
Our classic European honey bee hives and native squash bees in the Apidae family
Butterflies: spring azure, red admiral, painted lady, monarch, viceroy, swallowtail
Flies: small native flies including bee mimics that camouflage to look like bees
Hummingbirds: male and female ruby-throated hummingbirds
Moths: hummingbird, bumblebee, and yes even sulfur and cabbage 
Skippers: small brown patterned and butterfly-like, they hold their wings upright, more will visit towards the end of summer.
Wasps: small native wasps like the green halictid sweat wasps that do not sting

Our Top 10 Flowers Blooming Now That Make Amazing: 
*Garden Displays* *Cut Flower Bouquets* *Pollinator Buffets*
1. Ageratum: Red, white, and blue annual. Amazing native bee attractor! $5.99 per mixed pot
2. Beardtongue: Penstemon, white with red inside attracts hummingbirds. Sun or shade! $5.99 Ea 
3. Black-Eyed Susan: Mix of colors, large-flowering and small-flowering types $5.99 Ea 
4. Coneflower: Purple, shades of orange and white. Bees and butterflies love it! $5.99 Ea
5. Dianthus: Phenomenal colors and patterns, fantastic butterfly attractor! $5.99 Ea
6. Dill: Harvest leaves as an annual herb, use delicate yellow flowers for bouquets! $3.00 Ea
7. Russian Sage: Purple salvia flowers. Drought tolerant. Attracts all types of bees! $5.99 Ea 
8. Tithonia: Vibrant orange zinnia-like blooms. Annual.Also called Mexican Sunflower. $8.99 Ea
9. Stoke’s Aster: A vibrant ethereal purple loved by butterflies and skippers! $7.99 Ea
10. Yarrow: Bright& light pink, yellow, and white. Attracts native bees and butterflies! $5.99 Ea 

Studies are being done on pollinator nutrition. While it’s nice to feed sugar water to draw in butterflies and hummingbirds, it’s more nutritious to grow native plants for the pollinators. The nectar and pollen of plants that have a relationship with the pollinators also have a higher nutrient content: components like protein and amino acids that the pollinators need to stay healthy! 
And these plants have tactics like bright colors and sweet scents to draw in the pollinators that rely on them.

Non-native perennials that attract pollinators are still a tasty sugary snack, but don’t measure up when it comes to providing a balanced diet. And even some natives have been selected to have more decorative, fluffy flowers that cut down on the amount of food pollinators can collect. 

Our plants in bold above are native that provide the best nutrition!
(The plants in this list are perennial unless stated otherwise.)

Our Top 5 Plants for Hummingbirds
1. Beardtongue- Penstemon: Sun to Shade! White flowers, red stripes inside. Drought tolerant!
2. Bee Balm- Monarda: Sun. Striking red flowers, mint relative, spreads well.
3. Lupine- Lupinus: Sun to Part Shade. Mix of pastel warm and cool colors with white.
4. Trumpet Vine- Campsis: Sun. Vibrant orange flower. Climbing vine! Drought tolerant. 
5. Wild Petunia- Ruellia: Sun to Part Shade. Beautiful purple flowers. Drought tolerant.
A plus! The first three are long-lasting cut flowers!

Top 6 Plants Adored By Butterflies, Moths, and Skippers (plus other pollinators)
1. Basket Flower- White flowers, native, beautiful large flower heads. Non-spiny non-weedy thistle!
2. False Sunflower-Heliopsis is related to Jerusalem artichoke. Yellow flowers.
3. Liatris- Tall purple spike, a lovely striking flower for many native butterflies! Aster family.
4. Salvia- Purple, tube-shaped flowers attract hummingbird moths and bumblebee moths!
5. Stoke’s Aster- A vibrant ethereal purple. Another aster family plant loved by Lepidoptera*
6. Zinnia- A rainbow of colors. Swallowtails, monarchs, painted ladies, and red admirals visit!
A plus! All long-lasting cut flowers!
*Lepidoptera is the scientific name for butterflies, moths, and skippers!

The wonderful thing about native plants and perennials, is that there is still time to plant them in your garden. So stop on by and grab a few to freshen up your garden today! 

~ Emma 


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