The year 2018 brought record-breaking precipitation to our western Pennsylvania garden. After a short and late spring, the hot and humid summer lasted into early October. We seldom had to fill our small pond, which was home to three green frogs and several kinds of dragonflies. They provided me with plenty of photo opportunities while also keeping the number of mosquitoes down.
Our native plants were able to cope with frequent rainfalls while some annuals did not thrive until we experienced a relative dry spell. Perennials have a short blooming season and it is very important to plan successive blooms from spring to fall to provide nectar for insects. The earliest bloomers in our garden are redbud, wild columbine and false indigo.
The heat prompted some plants, such as this common milkweed, to bloom earlier than usual, an observation we made with other plants as well. This was a matter of concern because by early fall there were not many nectar sources available for insects. Luckily, our zinnias and salvia continued to bloom well into fall and became very popular with butterflies and bees.
Would you like to add some native plants to your garden? Make sure they are appropriate for your region. To get you started you may want to check out the websites of the National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society. Happy gardening!