What's Blooming Now?

For the past 10 years I have been trying to get a handle on my inherited crazy yard. It was overgrown with weeds (still fighting those), terrible soil, and void of any organization. As I incorporate more plants into the small gardens, I’m careful to be sure I plant so that something is blooming throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall. I do this for my honeybees although honestly I think they head elsewhere to forage as I mostly see bumblebees and native bees in my yard. I do this for myself for aesthetic purposes. And I do this because other wildlife can benefit from constant sources of pollen and nectar and parts of the plants as they grow.

In the early Spring, the first thing that comes up is dandelions and clover. To me, these aren’t weeds. I let them freely grow and reproduce and they make bees happy when they break cluster and come out of their hive after a long winter. But then the real fun starts. From April into the Fall, things are popping in my gardens. This is my small attempt at Phenology – the study of how the biological world times natural events. I know there is way more to it than that, but if we can encourage others to do even this, our pollinators and other wildlife will be even happier with us.

Here are the dates of first blooms I recorded this year.
April 18 – Lilacs
May 6 – Columbine
May 8 – Clematis
June 5 – Ohio Spiderwort
June 15 – Poker Plant
June 22 – Bee Balm
June 22 – Culvers Root
June 24 – Daylillies
June 24 – Common Milkweed
July 18 – Cup Plant
July 18 – Rattlesnake Master
July 19 – Woodland Sunflower
July 28 – Swamp Milkweed
August 1 – Sunflowers (my favorite plant!!)
August 14 – Wild Senna
August 15 – Goldenrod
August 26 - Sedum (Autumn Joy)

Many of these are still going strong. The ones that are done blooming, I just leave so birds can eat seeds, use the materials for nests, and critters can hide in them over the winter. The last to bloom are my sedums and I have several of these in my gardens. The bees just love this fall blooming plant and so do I - for me this means Fall is really here and it is my favorite season. This year I also added in some Blue Stars, Foxglove and Marsh Blazing Star. I'm excited to add them to my list and watch them grow.

At the end of the blooming season, I leave my garden messy. I rake leaves into the gardens and just let it go. I wait as long as I can to do some cleaning up in the following Spring because I know wildlife is using that habitat. Over the winter my soil is being fed by decaying roots, birds are using the debris for nests, bees and other creatures are burrowing in the mess, and I love seeing the cycle of life taking place in my gardens. I know soon enough it will be Spring again and start all over.

Blog author: Amy Roskilly, Conservation Education Specialist

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