Growing Is for the Birds, Butterflies and Bees | Zionsville, IN | Altum’s Horticultural Center and Landscape

Late Summer Gardening Checklist

Checkbox-imageGET HELP IF YOU NEED IT

When you don’t know where to start, start with Snapshot Gardening. You’ll get face time with a garden design pro, time to review photos of your area, personalized ideas and plant recommendations and a $25 gift card to get you started.

Checkbox-imageBOOST YOUR SOIL

One of the best ways to be successful when planting this fall is to amend your soil (50% soil amendment to 50% original soil). Then seal in moisture with a fresh layer of Altum’s Hardwood Mulch.

Checkbox-imagePLANT TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT

The time is now, my friend. Perfect conditions, less watering, less stress on your plants and healthier plants come spring. Remember the root ball should be level with the soil line and the wider the hole the better—loosens the soil and gives roots room to grow. Check out the Step-by-Step Planting Guide. We have great results with Fertilome Root Stimulator, too.

Checkbox-imageTHAT INCLUDES BULBS

If you buy bulbs now while the selection is good, then  strategically plant them (with some Dutch Bulb Food) when the ground has cooled come October, you’ll be in for a lovely spring surprise.

Checkbox-imageMAKE IT YOURS

Put together your own concoction of mums, pumpkins, pansies, ornamental grasses, seed pods, curly willow branches, cabbages and kale in containers, windowboxes or beds.

Let’s grow together. Stop in, call 317.733.GROW and find what you need online.

Growing Is for the Birds, Butterflies and Bees

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PLANTING FOR POLLINATORS AND WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT

You probably think of honey when you think of bees. But did you know that bees and other pollinators are responsible for apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, cucumbers, onions, grapefruit, oranges and pumpkins?

It’s true. That’s because bees and other pollinators like butterflies, birds and a variety of plant-hopping insects pollinate more than 30% of the United States’ food supply and 75% of the world’s agricultural crops, not to mention a host of gorgeous native plants.

The Dilemma

According to the USDA and a large body of growing research on pollinators, there have been a number of factors that have contributed to a pretty alarming decline in the bee, butterfly and other pollinator population.

The culprits? Parasites, mites, viruses, bacteria, genetics, habitat loss and the improper use of pesticides. There’s also something called Colony Collapse Disorder that happens when worker bees never return to their hives.

Some in the green industry say the dramatic dip in the pollinator population is reaching epidemic proportions and are asking that people pay attention to some small, but very important steps they can take to make a difference.

The Good News

There is something you can do.

First and foremost, plant for the pollinators. What does this mean exactly? It means that you plant flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen. And it doesn’t have to be a lot to make a difference!

According to a study out of Arizona, groups or communities of bees have been able to sustain themselves with the wildflowers growing in small vacant city lots.

Start with a pollen- and nectar-rich window box or containers. We’ll get to varieties in just a bit, but the great thing about window boxes and containers is that you can place them in areas that make it easy to observe activity. There’s something really rewarding about seeing honeybees, Monarchs, moths, even hummingbirds hover over something you planted.

There’s a lot of talk about pesticides and which ones are safe. The truth is, an organic approach, especially when it comes to food, is both safer and more effective in the long-term.

But if you do use pesticides, be sure not to apply them to open blossoms or when bees or other pollinators are nearby. You also want to apply carefully and selectively, being sure to ask an expert at your local garden center if you need advice.

You can also give wildlife a place to nest, hide from predators and take shelter from weather. We love wooded areas that are left natural, tall grasses, lush evergreens and other plants and natural material. These things also help gather food and water for pollinators, something that will help attract and sustain them. 

What To Plant

Our favorite perennials:

Aster
Lavender
Coneflower
Butterfly Weed
Salvia
Bee Balm
Yarrow
Sedum
Hosta

Our favorites annuals:

Calendula
Marigolds
Sunflowers
Sweet Alyssum
Zinnias
Lantana
Black & Blue Salvia
Pentas

Our favorite trees, shrubs and fruit:

Blackberry
Raspberry
Butterfly Bush
Limelight Hydrangea
Hypericum

We’ve always thought of a garden as a place full of life. Planting for pollinators and wildlife is a way to plant for the future. And a beautiful one at that.