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Garden Diary - April 5, 2018 - Creating a Pollinator Paradise



I'm determined to attract more pollinators to my garden this year. I had planned to plant a bunch of annuals, but missed my chance in the fall, and now I'm just changing gears on that.

I cut back all my milkweeds during the freeze, but most survived and are growing strong with many more branches. I rooted about 25 cuttings in water
over the winter. I planted those out into the butterfly bed, so I now have about 38 branches of milkweed. I just pinched them all back to get more branches. I don't even know if they'll bloom in this bed, because it gets only morning sun, but I'm growing them for the monarchs, not for me. I had all my milkweed in different places, but had to move the larvae around from one to another, so I just put them all in one bed so they can get to them all by themselves.

I've also dug up about 18 volunteer vinca seedlings to grow out and plant all around for nectar for the bees and butterflies, and more are coming up in the gardens. These are mostly pink and white, so I may buy some other colors when they get into the stores. Native bees seem to like them a lot. Have a ton of marigold seeds from last year to plant out too. I was going to plant zinnias, but I don't know if it may be too late for those, since they are so susceptible to fungus. I may wait until fall to plant those.

Planted morning glory seeds and am planting cypress vine seeds also, hoping to attract more hummingbirds. Of course, I have my brugmansias and daturas for the night flying moths. I grew some brugs from seed last year, so I'm planting those, all 9 of them, out along the fence, so they can grow with abandon and not have to worry about interfering with the sidewalks. The soil isn't too good up there, but I'm sure they'll do fine if I pile mulch around them and fertilize.

All of my tropical hibiscus died back in the freeze, and while one is coming back strong, the red and peach colored ones only have one little shoot each, so I planted the morning glories so they'll grow up and over the dead branches to provide shade for the gingers and wandering jews underneath. I'm going to miss my pretty hibiscus flowers smiling up over the courtyard wall, but maybe some morning glories will grow up and spill over that wall this year.

In the meantime, I have several Texas Star hibiscus to plant out, one Cranberry hibiscus, and am babying a couple of volunteers of H. radiatus (huge burgundy flowers). I don't think I'm going to grow any H. sabdariffa (sorrel) this year. I need much more than I had to get a decent amount of sepals, and I don't have the room. I may seed some more cranberry hibiscus, but it all depends on how well this one does. It's about a foot tall, and I got most of mine last year by getting cuttings from one plant, so I'll see about that. 

That's all for now. I have a lot of flower seeds I purchased last year that I'll either plant or give away, so stay tuned.

Happy Gardening!

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