This is so true! We should have a mix of nectar plants and host plants for the butterflies and caterpillars, and plants that grow berries for the birds, and plants that bloom at night for the moths, and plants with tubular shaped flowers for the hummingbirds, and water for all critters to drink, and nectar plants for the bees and wasps and all the other lovely pollinator bugs. Our gardens should be alive with things moving and growing and living.
Pretty little basket of honey-smelling Sweet Alyssum blooming happily all through our cold snaps. No covering needed for this cool season annual! Did you know that Sweet Alyssum, aka Lobularia maritima, is also an excellent nectar plant? Yep, it is. All kinds of beneficial bugs luv visiting this plant: bees, butterflies, wasps, etc. All of that means it’s the perfect little plant for your cool season garden.
I’ll be making more container gardens and hanging baskets soon. Look for them in R&G’s Neighbourhood Garden Boutique!
It’s Plant Of The Week time! This week’s special plant is the beautiful and exotic looking Mona Lavender.
Isn’t she pretty! Regardless of what her name says, she isn’t related to lavender. She’s called ‘Mona Lavender’ cause of the pretty, light lavender color of her flowers. Her botanical name is Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’, and she’s in the Lamiaceae family, which means she’s actually related to Swedish Ivy. She gets extra points for being on the Florida Friendly Plant list. Yes!
To keep ML happy in your garden she needs part shade, well drained soil, and water on a regular basis. She’s a tender semi-evergreen perennial in zones 9b – 11, meaning if it’s a normal winter she should overwinter with no problem. If we get one of the rare cold winters, then she’ll probably die and you’ll need to replace her in the spring. No special fertilizer is needed on ML, just whichever general organic fertilizer you use. Personally, I like using Milorganite on all my garden beds.
Her pretty little flowers all perky on their upright stems repeat bloom quite frequently. The flower stems are above the foliage so from a distance it looks like a little cloud of lavender puffiness. Very pretty. Deadheading does make her look nicer and helps her to rebloom quicker. The flowers last a good while on the plant. The ones in theses pictures have been blooming for about two weeks. I’ve never tried them as cut flowers. If you have, do they do well?
ML grows to about 3′ x 3′, so give her room to mature! I planted this one in front of the Hawaiian Ti plants where she’ll fill in that whole area. She’s been in that bed less than a month but already has new growth on her. Can’t wait for her to fill in. I think the pink Ti leaves will be beautiful growing through the purple and dark green leaves of ML. Did you notice that the backsides of the leaves are dark purple! How cool.
Mona Lavender, Foxtail Ferns, Hawaiin Ti
ML does great either in containers or in the ground. She does have somewhat brittle stems, so don’t plant her where she’ll be brushed up against, like next to a walkway. Oh, and she does attract bees, which is a very good thing … unless you’re allergic to them. Here is a pic of a mature ML (how awesome is that!) and one in a container with Creeping Jenny (both pics courtesy of the internet).
Mature Mona Lavender
Mona Lavender in container
Now that you’ve learned all kinds of cool things about Mona Lavender, I’m sure you have the perfect place for her in your garden! Let me know how many you want and I can deliver, install if needed, and/or create a container garden for you. Call/text, 386-310-9969, or email, email@example.com, to schedule your delivery.
Look at how cute these ideas are for building bee hotels to keep the beneficial bugs in your garden! Between a bee hotel, plants for nectar and pollen, and a bee water feature, the beneficial pollinators will never want to leave your garden!
It’s a beautiful November day here in New Orleans. Gauzy white clouds are floating through a bright blue sky. Just enough of a breeze to help the windchimes sing. And flowers in the garden enjoying the cooler weather and recent rains.
The sweet almond bush, Aloysia virgata, is in full bloom. Beautiful white panicles beckon bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and all other pollinators with their intense almond fragrance and promise of nectar.
Dancing Girl Ginger, Globba winitii, isn’t fragrant but her gorgeous blooms more than make up for that. The breeze is just enough to make her look like she really is dancing to today’s beauty.
Ah what an amazing power nectar filled flowers have on hungry butterflies and bees.
I put this Sweet Almond Bush, Aloysia virgata, on my little balcony about a week ago. It started blooming its oh so wonderfully fragrant white flowers yesterday. And, viola! The bees and butterflies began showing up today. Wasn’t quick enough to get a pic of the bees, but I did get this beautiful butterfly which I think is a Monarch.
Sweet Almond Bushes are such awesome plants. They do get big … I had one in the ground that got large shrub size: about 15′ x 15′. This new one will need repotting soon to a much larger pot. They like sun to part sun, but aren’t very finicky about anything else. The flowers repeat bloom through the year, yes they smell just like almonds, and they attract every kind of nectar loving critter out there from hummingbirds to wasps.
What are you waiting for? You need one of these wonderful shrubs in your garden!
This bee is loving the nectar in the Calibricoa. Do you have enough nectar plants in your garden for the bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies? If not, call for a consultation and I’ll help you with that.
Want to do more to help save all those beautiful and very needed pollinators such as bees and butterflies and others? It’s quite simple to do by not using chemical treatment for bad bugs in your garden. Look at it this way: the good bugs have to have something to eat or they’ll never come into your garden. Leave the bad bugs alone and the good bugs will come and do their job, then the pollinators can come in and do their job with no chance of being killed because of chemicals. It’s a win/win for everyone!
It’s a warm and rainy Saturday here at the Garden Center. When Gibbs and I did our morning walkabout I noticed the bees and butterflies were as happy as they could be as they flitted and buzzed from flower to flower sipping nectar and spreading pollen. How pretty they are!
The Butterfly Bush keeps cranking out the gorgeous yellow blooms, and the butterflies always flock to its blooms. I need to plant a few of these in my garden this year.
Is it raining in your area? If so, why not put your houseplants outside and let the rain wash the dust off their leaves. They’d also enjoy a good drink of rainwater versus the usual tap water. It’s supposed to drop to the upper 30s tonight though, so be sure to bring them back inside.