The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website page I was visiting today says that creatures such as hummingbirds, bats, butterflies, bees and even flies help to pollinate over 75% of all flowering plants and also crops. So, in order for all of us to keep enjoying fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, even chocolate and coffee, we need these pollinators and we need them in great numbers.
I do my part by focusing on bringing bees into the garden. I know hummingbirds are more fun to watch and butterflies are the prettiest of them all, but based upon sheer percentages, it seems I get the most from the bees.
At my community garden plot I planted two scarlet sage plants (Salvia splendens) this past summer. I actually didn't plant anything else since I've been so busy with the new job, but I figured this was a way my plot could look pretty and I could help other gardeners by attracting some pollinators.
At the public garden where I work I am among many, many flowers all day long, but I only want to mention 3 that are exceptional at attracting honeybees and other kinds of bees. These 3 are white patrinia (Patrinia villosa), agastache (Agastache x "Firebird") and black and blue salvia (Salvia guaranitica). These 3 flowering plants are simply covered with bees every time I go near. I move among these plants every day, brushing right up on the bees and flowers and I've not been stung, but I'm always careful to move among them with a degree of respect. I move lightly. I don't grasp any flowers with my bare hands without looking first. Obviously, if you are allergic to bees, you should use greater caution than me.
I am a big advocate of natural lawns, aka, anything that doesn't require tons of fertilizers and herbicides, and there is a terrific lawn plant that will attract bees - Dutch white clover. You can order seed via seed companies or get it at feed and seed stores locally in places like Cumming and Canton.
I know it's September and some of these plants may be hard to find, but then again, some of them will be in the mark down section of local plant nurseries. And that is why I'm mentioning them now. Autumn is a wonderful time to plant perennials. So, go visit local nurseries and see if there are any good buys and get them in the ground now in order to have a lovely spring and summer in 2013.