When your summer blooming flowers begin to wane, it’s time to think about what you can add to prolong the blooming season. It’s more than just adding fall-blooming mums for their beauty. Planting some fall blooming annuals and perennials extends the blooming season. It also aids migrating butterflies and provides for the bees and birds that are gathering food reserves for the winter. For example, the Mexican sunflower can provide beautiful orange flowers that last until the first frost. Adding annuals such as marigolds, begonias, sweet alyssum, asters, and calendula will extend the blooming season in your garden. Add perennials that bloom into the fall, like goldenrod, black-eyed Susan, sedum, liatris—just to name a few. Your fall garden can be just as spectacular and useful as your spring and summer garden.
Adding a source of water for the bees and butterflies can also add life to your fall garden. Butterflies will gather and sip at shallow pools of water and mud puddles. Butterflies like places to “puddle”. They don’t necessarily need water to drink because they get liquid from nectar. They need places to “puddle” to provide critical minerals that butterflies need. Use a shallow dish, like a flowerpot saucer. Place it in a depression dug in the ground, add landscape sand, or garden soil, and add water to create wet mud. Make sure to keep it moist.
Bees are small and can drown easily. Again, use a shallow dish filled with rocks or even marbles. Keep the water line below the level of the rocks so that the bees have a place to land.
Article by MELISSA BLOCK