When the weather heats up and you wonder what will be there to sustain native insects, it’s always nice to see the summer shrubs kick into gear. Take a walk through my garden and see what shrubs are blooming now and what insects are benefiting from them. Of course, the beauty for us is just icing on the cake.
my previous blog about our native spireas here.
St. John’s wort is absolutely a group of summer plants and there are several blooming now or just finished. Golden St. John’s wort (Hypericum frondosum) is usually the earliest and it is finished now. The star is currently bushy St. John’s wort (Hypericum densiflorum) and a modest side of St. Andrew’s cross (Hypericum hypericoides). All are popular with bumble bees and other bees.
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) is aptly named and I’ve got two cultivars blooming now: the pink ‘Ruby Spice’ and the shorter ‘Hummingbird.’ The sweetly smelling racemes are visited by butterflies, bees, and wasps.
|Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice'|
Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) is a shrub that needs a lot of room and sun to bloom well, but I also grow it in part shade where the plant is smaller and the blooms are fewer. The Eastern tiger swallowtails love on this one for weeks, occasionally joined by silver-spotted skippers and large bees.
|Tiger swallowtail on bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)|
Two of our native azaleas bloom in the summer. Sweet or smooth azalea (Rhododendron arborescens) hasn’t yet found a sweet spot in my yard and is currently in a pot where it only has a few blooms this time of year, but it would be great for other people! I have too much deer presence to give every azalea a home. Plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) has found a perfect home next to my front porch where it happily sports red flowers on my birthday every year in July and attracts large butterflies and hummingbirds.
|Aralia spinosa flower cluster full of|
different bees and butterflies
My previous post on late spring and early summer shrubs can be found here. I hope some of these ideas will inspire you to plant some summer shrubs in your garden.