Category Archives: Pollinator Gardens

Best plants for honey bees include anise hyssop, rosemary, poppy, bee balm, catmint, coneflower, borage, and thyme.

Sharon Garden Club Hosts Beekeeper Barbara MacPhee’s “Gardens for Honeybees”

Best plants for honey bees include anise hyssop, rosemary, poppy, bee balm, catmint, coneflower, borage, and thyme.

Plant These For Bees, a display at the Sharon Garden Club by guest speaker and beekeeper Barbara MacPhee. Suggested flowers for pollinators include anise hyssop, rosemary, poppy, bee balm, catmint, coneflower, borage, and thyme. [Photo by Dixie Buckland]

Beekeeper Barbara MacPhee

Sharon Garden Club presenter and beekeeper Barbara MacPhee.










Fun honey bee facts from Sharon Garden Club presenter and beekeeper Barbara MacPhee, at our February meeting:

  • Among honey bees, it’s the worker bees (who are all females) that you see (and hear) collecting nectar and pollen. The males, called drones, maintain the hives.
  • It takes 1,152 honey bees flying a distance of 112,000 miles, harvesting from 4.5 million flowers, to produce one pound of honey. Now that is impressive, ladies!
  • In early spring, bees need early-flowering plants like snowdrops, Claytonia and dandelions to support their hives. Forsythia, while a traditional feel-good sign of spring for humans, has zero pollen and zero nectar. Consider replacing one with a pollinator-friendly native shrub like redbud or viburnum.
  • Later in the season, agastache, clover (yes, in your lawn!) and borage, plus winterberry and American holly, are some of the other plants that honey bees favor.

And my two cents: Think about it: just about everything you and I eat was once a plant, most likely a flowering plant. No pollinators, no food. Are you hungry to support pollinators now?

Visit the Sharon Garden Club online


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Bid On 2 Hours of Gardening with Me at the Easton Lions Club Auction – 86 minutes to go!

Home garden at Easton's Garden-911 specializes in native plants that support pollinators.

Speckled fritillary butterfly on native coneflower at the home of Garden-911 in Easton, MA. [Photo copyright 2017 Carol Lundeen]

Want a more sustainable garden and support a robust local non-profit! Just 1 hour, 26 minutes until the bidding ends on two hours of side-by-side gardening with me, to benefit the Easton Lions Club.

Learn more and BID NOW!


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Easton Garden Club: Landscape Design Challenge Winner

Super happy to share that I’m a Landscape Design Challenge Winner, donating my talents for community service for Easton as a proud member of the Easton Garden Club.  Big surprise: I included lots of native plants in my winning designs.

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Fall magic at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Garden

Butterfly weed seed rests on Joe Pye weed at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Garden.

Butterfly weed seed rests on Joe pye weed at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Garden.

There’s magic in the air again this fall, as silky puffs burst out of butterfly weed follicles like bright white fireworks bursting out of a purse, each carrying what looks like an aged miniature copper penny that is actually a seed about to take flight.

I had the pleasure of volunteering with the URI Master Gardeners at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Garden yesterday, weeding and edging beds (aka bed maintenance) just in time to spiff up for this weekend’s plant sale, URI Master Gardeners soil testing and info kiosk event, and the Botanical Center Conservancy Photography Contest Exhibition.

Even though I garden practically every day, I was in awe at the early fall colors in the Display Garden.  Blooming plumes on grasses push back and forth in the wind, contrasted against stands of perennials, some in full bloom and full of pollinators, others done blooming but still beautiful with their fall-colored crayon foliage and seeds about to drop.

Native butterfly weed follicles burst open at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Garden

Native butterfly weed follicles burst open at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Garden

Big milkweed bug nymphs on Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed

Nymphs of big milkweed bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, on butterfly weed follicles at Roger Williams Park Botanical Center Display Garden

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Join me at Sharon Green Day May 7th 12-4 pm

Enjoy a free, fun-filled, family oriented afternoon, and discover how you can make a difference for the next generation!

Pollinator garden favorite black eyed Susan

Black eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida, is an excellent native pollinator and butterfly garden plant.

If you want to support pollinators, come find my table at the Sustainable Sharon Coalition’s Green Day on May 7th from 12-4 on High Street, Sharon Center, between the Sharon Public Library & Congregational Church.  I’ll be selling perennials with high horticulture and pollinator value, and Rudbeckia fulgida v fulgida will be the star of the show.
(In case of inclement weather, the event will be held inside the Congregational Church Parish Hall.)

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Take the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

Here’s a challenge from the National Wildlife Federation.  If this matters to you, Garden-911 can help you get certified.

MPGC_Logo_219X219You can participate the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge by turning your yard or garden into a Certified Wildlife Habitat via National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program.  It’s as simple as providing food, water, cover and places to raise young for pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Then visit our website to certify your yard.

When you certify, you’ll get a personalized certificate, a special garden flag designating your yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, a one-year membership to National Wildlife Federation, six digital issues of National Wildlife magazine, a subscription to the monthly Garden for Wildlife e-newsletter, and a discount on wildlife gardening products from National Wildlife Catalog.

Most importantly, you’ll also start attracting beautiful pollinators and get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re making a difference. Each Certified Wildlife Habitat counts towards the ultimate goal of creating one million pollinator-friendly gardens by the end of 2016.

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Garden-911: March Showers Bring March Flowers

Garden-911 pollinator garden; fritillary butterfly on Echinacae flower.

Native plants attract native pollinators. This spangled fritillary butterfly lingered quite a while on this pink Echinacae in my front yard butterfly garden last fall.

75 degrees today in North Easton, and I’m soaked with spring fever, even now, after dark.  Tree frogs are croaking it up, salamanders getting ready for a big night tomorrow (I hope), and I got to spread leaf mold on a clients’ heirloom perennial garden today.  Hurray!

Leaf mold is about the best medicine ever for improving soil health, but let’s not leave out compost.  Leaf mold is decayed leaves, preferably chopped with a mower or shredder, that have been watered to dampness (like a wrung out sponge), piled up, and left to sit a good while to be broken down by members of the tiny microbes and insects society.  You know it’s about ready to use when you can no longer recognize the leaves as leaves and it’s all nice and fluffy.  A bit about using compost as a soil amendment later.

I’ll be spreading leaf mold on my own garden tomorrow.  It sounds gross, I know, but soon enough the Echinaca plant pictured in the photo will be again attracting fritillary butterflies and hummingbirds to my front yard, in part thanks to the natural magic that happens from feeding soil with leaf mold.

I love spring fever, and we have a nice steady rain coming tomorrow, so drink it in!

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