I moved last year, so I will be looking to restock on butterfly host and nectar plants. At one point I download a great booklet about butterflies for the Mid-Atlantic region.
In my garden, Verbena bonariensis is the plant most likely to be swarmed with butterflies and moths. It is such a great plant and easy to winter sow! My previous neighborhood had a number of Liriodendron tulipifera trees which are hosts to swallow tail butterflies. I got some Butterfly Weed seeds from the recent swap and those are on my "must sow" list.
If you really want bees then anise hyssop seems to be the plant. A number of times I have been walking around a nursery and seen anise hyssops covered with bees when none of the other plants had more than an occasional visitor. At a local botanical garden, the lavender plants were so alive with bees it kind of made me a bit nervous.
Shirley1md, I'm planting everything on your list except the Morning Glories and I'm not sure what Jacob's ladder is...
I got some Bronze Fennel in a swap, that looks awesome...New York Ironweed, a couple different Milkweeds, and the Agastache foeniculum / Anise hyssop from last year. I swapped a bunch of the Agastache seeds in the WS swap, Brent, you're right, it was cotinually covered with bees
Sometimes just the name of the 'Gardening for Wildlife' forum makes me laugh, it reminds me of an old friend's vegetable garden. As he worked, he would say stuff like, "This is for the deer, this is for the squirrels, Oh, don't forget the mice, they gotta eat, too. Maybe they'll leave some for me this year" muttering to himself as he worked...swearing the whole time. The world's angriest gardener. I just have to watch the grounhog that lives under my shed and a few squirrels.
Joanne: "My 6 year old will be helping to create a butterfly garden next spring and this site will be a big help." That's the best way to teach little hands all about the wonderful benefits of gardening. It great to get children involved, especially when they are young.
Brent, Verbena bonariensis is another wonderful plant for attracting butterflies & moths to your garden. I hope that wintersowing will reward you by restocking your butterfly host & larvae plants.
Mike: I also plan to wintersow Bronze Fennel, Milkweed & Agastache. All of them are terrific for encouraging 'flying' wildlife. The deer, squirrels & mice seem to do quite well all on their own. Keep a careful watch out for that groundhog. They do have a voracious appetite.
Good post Shirley! Very important subject! Winter Sowers can effect their local natural environment, if they so wisely they can improve their habitats for wildlife, if they so carelessly, they might introdice a destructive pest plant which can tip the balance by overtaking and crowding out beneficial plants.
I made a large link table for the North American continent that will give you links to places where everyone can go to observe and/or learn about the natural environment--because the more we understand our regional ecosystems, the better we can WS to help these ecosystems. http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/Natural_Environment_Link_Table.html
Mary, I got some Verbena bonariensis seeds from my plants this fall, but they're a mixed lot -- I'd guess that only about 30% of the mix have that dark color that I think indicates mature seeds. So I'm hesitant to offer them to you for SASBE... however, I may have some other seeds you'd like to make it a worthwhile swap... Dmail me if somebody doesn't have better looking seeds for you! BTW, I love one of the names I've heard for the, "Verbena-on-a-stick!"
I haven't started WS yet... did most of my wintersowing in Feb. last year, and that worked fine... at least it looks like we're finally going to get some extended cold weather soon!
speaking of the Hummingbird & Butterfly forum, I learned so much there in the last few months, and one of the most important reasons I wanted to try wintersowing was to get more plants for the butterflies. I have quite a few nectar plants, but really wanted to increase my host plants if I could. the folks over there were EXTREMELY generous with seeds, so I am sowing (host plants)
milkweed (4 different kinds)
maypop (passiflora incarnata)
LOL I love wintersowing and I've always been lurking here, I just don't have a lot to add to the communal wisdom. There are so many experienced winter sowers now, I just read and learn! It's really nice to be missed, though!
Above is a good link for Butterfly host plant seed learning and trading, by the way. Most posters on that forum are happy happy happy to trade seeds or send seeds, whatever. Likewise for hummingbird plants/seeds.
I have verbena bonarienses seeds galore that I will be happy to send out to anyone. Just d-mail me your addresses and put 'Verbena bonarienses' in the subject line.
Just to encourage you all, here's a pretty monarch on a zinnia (not in my yard, though!) and it really makes me want to grow loads of zinnias from seed!
This is a pic of part of my little butterfly garden. I wintersowed some of the rudbeckias and leucantheums, 2 milkweeds, parsley, verbena bonarienses, some cosmos, tassel flowers and a few others last year. I grew the Liatris from corms the year before and they came back again. I jammed a lot a flowers into that little bed and sometimes it looked messy but it was always busy with butterflies, caterpillers and dragonflies. Loads of fun.
We grew a number of plants for ruby throated hummingbirds, too,---too many to mention now and some were more successful than others...definitely worth a try. My neighbors were amazed that I had HBs--they had never seen them before!
tabasco: Very pretty. Is that prarie sun? I have some of that for this year.
I always plant with hummingbirds in mind, and always keep a feeder full of fresh sugar water. They love me- I have them buzzing around like crazy, fighting to protect their nectar source, even though there's plenty to go around. I expect some flower reseeders from past years for the critters: nasturtium, nicotiana, echinacea, verbena bonariensis, petunia, hollyhocks, 4:00, and probably more that I can't recall. I'm also planning some new ones this year: lots of salvia (splendens, coccinnea, patens, coral nymph), asastache, rud. prarie sun, some 2nd year columbine which haven't bloomed yet, coneflower double decker,
Geez, I haven't looked to see if I have any hollyhock babies. If it ever stops raining I'll check. After I got so sick last year I wasn't able to deadhead much (I'm usually OCD about it), so I think I might get way too many reseeders of things I don't want. Thanks for the reminder. I used to direct sow cosmos but stopped because our wind and rains always knocked them over, and they reseed like weeds. I have smaller Sensation type to try this year and will try to deadhead.
I like the looks of Prairie Sun, though I've never had it before. I think I'll like it even if the BFs don't.
Shirley, I am looking for a quick answer to a bug problem...they are gray, squishy, soft bodies, clumping together on my viola and I can't think of their name, I need to know to figure out how to get rid of them...any ideas? Thanks...