Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
I've had bees on the brain the last couple growing seasons. I keep adding native flowering plants to my garden, to provide habitat for pollinators, and butterflies, too.
But so far, the mammals are beating the insects to the buffet. Virtually every new bee- or butterfly-friendly thing I've planted this year has been nipped in the bud -- literally -- by hungry mammals. They come in the night and chomp off all the new growth -- buds and leaves, leaving only shorn broken stems.
Coneflowers and swamp milkweed have been especially hard hit. The latest casualty was three cardinal flowers I planted just Sunday evening. By Monday morning, they were half their size (although I've since discovered that the red-leaved variety I bought isn't a native, strictly speaking, but a cultivar.)
I'm not sure if it's deer or rabbits devouring my native plants at night. I suspect deer because they're also eating the buds on taller, non-native plants, like roses and lilies.
I'd still like to provide habitat for bees and butterflies, but at this rate, it's not looking good for this season. Can anyone out there recommend some plants that bees and butterflies like -- but rabbits and deer aren't as likely to eat first?
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