Cha Cha pen­ste­mons

Sum­mer days evoke the warm sun and the drowsy for­ag­ing of con­tented bees amongst the gen­tle drifts of sum­mer flow­ers. Bell-shaped flow­ers are par­tic­u­larly en­tic­ing to bees.

Go Gardening - - Editorial -

Aflower gar­den is one of the best ways to help out our vi­tally im­por­tant bees. Many an­nu­als and peren­ni­als are good food sources but bees are par­tic­u­larly at­tracted to cer­tain colours and shapes of flower.

Blues, mauves and yel­lows are top of the bee’s list as are cup or bell shaped blooms. Some flow­ers pro­duce nec­tar guides, which are strong pat­terns to draw the bee in to the ‘prize’ of nec­tar or pollen, as seen in Pen­ste­mons ‘Straw­berry

Taffy’ and ‘CHA CHA Pink’. The re­ward for the plant is pol­li­na­tion serv­ing a vi­tal re­pro­duc­tive func­tion, while bees and other im­por­tant in­sects de­pend on na­tures pantry to sur­vive and thrive.

Cre­at­ing di­ver­sity of food sources by plant­ing peren­ni­als which flower in dif­fer­ent sea­sons is a prac­ti­cal way to help nur­ture a bee pop­u­la­tion. Spring is rich with op­tions in­clud­ing Cam­pan­ula, Scabiosa, Laven­der and Al­stroe­me­ria. Sum­mer Nepeta and Se­dums will be alive with bees for­ag­ing, while the Au­tumn of­fers fruit tree blos­som but also

Rud­beckia and Echi­nacea are val­ued for bees.

Win­ter can be dif­fi­cult and while there are fewer bees around it’s good to en­sure a sup­ply of pollen when the wildlife wakes up, ideal are wall­flow­ers and helle­bores.

Pen­ste­mons de­serve a spe­cial men­tion as the newer va­ri­eties will flower from spring right through sum­mer and into late au­tumn, pack­ing a lot of flower power if your gar­den space is lim­ited. The new and com­pact ’CHA CHA’ se­ries are a great com­pact op­tion with masses of blue or pink bell flow­ers with those dis­tinc­tive nec­tar guides to help di­rect the bee traf­fic. Gar­den­ers too get to en­joy the lovely spec­ta­cle of a sum­mer gar­den in full and glo­ri­ous flower.

Pic­tured anti clock­wise from

top left: Pen­ste­mon CHA CHA Pur­ple, Pen­ste­mon CHA CHA pink, Bum­ble Bee feed­ing, Pen­ste­mon ‘Straw­berry Taffy’ show­ing dis­tinc­tive Nec­tar Guide pat­ter­na­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.