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Help Save The Bees with Your Vertical Garden


The drastic decline in bee populations presents a troubling ecological phenomenon. One of the calls-to-action gardeners can handle is to plant more pollinator-nurturing gardens and protect our precious pollinators.

If you live in an urban neighborhood, you may feel powerless to help. To all suburban/urban dwellers, I say to us, “We too can help save the bees ... with vertical gardens!”

Vertical gardens let us grow a lot in a very small space. I use the Earth Tower Vertical Garden. It’s 4 feet high, 4-sided on wheels and gives me 46 feet of garden row in only a 2x2 foot space.

The important thing, when vertical gardening, is to choose plant varieties that are “dwarf” or “container friendly”. This means that the plants won’t grow too tall for your vertical garden and start looking like some prop in a Jack and The Beanstalk play.

So, in preparation for my “Pollinator Tower,” I researched bee-attracting/bee-feeding flowers. I then pared down my list to include those plants that would stay in the 6-12” range or at least hover below two feet.

Let’s help save the bees! Here are the bee-friendly flowers I recommend for your Earth Tower or other Vertical Garden:

ASTERS (Symphotrichum)

These bright little varieties will provide bees a delightful belly-full through the Fall!

COLORS: Pink, Purple, Blue

LIGHT: Full Sun to Partial Shade

HEIGHT: 6-8”

BLOOMS: Late Summer and Fall

BABY BLUE EYES (Nemophila Menziesii)

Low spreading border plant with soft, beautiful pastel-blue petals that form nectar-filled cups.

COLORS: Soft Blue, White

LIGHT: Full Sun to Partial Shade

HEIGHT: 6-12” (can spread over a foot wide)

BLOOMS: Late Spring through Early Summer

CALENDULAS (Calendula Officinalis)

Bright flowers similar to marigold play good roles in the kitchen and medicine cabinet.

COLORS: Bright Orange and Yellow

LIGHT: Filtered Sun or Shade

HEIGHT: 1 to 2 ft (pinch regularly so stems don’t grow too tall and spindly)

BLOOMS: Spring through Fall (and beyond!)

CALIFORNIA BLUEBELL (Phacelia Campanularia)

This vibrant wildflower also serves as a wonderful cut flower for arrangements

COLOR: Bright Cobalt Blue

LIGHT: Full Sun

HEIGHT: 12”

BLOOMS: Summer

CANDYTUFT (Iberis)

Showy white flowers with rich dark green narrow leaves create a stunning display.

COLORS: Pure White

LIGHT: Full Sun or Partial Shade

HEIGHT: 8-12”

BLOOMS: Spring and again in the Fall (gently trim after bloom to stimulate new buds)

FIVE SPOT (Nemophila Maculata)

Fast growing wildflower that blooms prolifically during an extended season.

COLORS: Stunning White with a striking purple spot on the tip of each petal

LIGHT: Full Sun (or Partial Shade if growing in a hot climate)

HEIGHT: 12”

BLOOMS: Early Spring and all Summer until the first frost

FRENCH MARIGOLD (Tagetes Patula)

Fancy, frilly marigolds with dignified deep green foliage

COLORS: Orange, Red

LIGHT: Full Sun

HEIGHT: 8-12”

BLOOMS: All Summer Long

GLOBE GILIA (Gilia Capitata)

This sun-seeking annual likes a hot and dry climate... a fast-grower and heavy-bloomer

COLOR: Bluish Purple

LIGHT: Full Sun to Partial Shade

HEIGHT: up to 12”

BLOOMS: All Summer until the first frost

GODETIA DWARF MIXED (Clarkia Amoena)

Bright and beautiful blooms, each one like a chalice made of crumpled silk gazing toward the sun.

COLORS: Varietal Mix of Bright Colors

LIGHT: Full Sun

HEIGHT: 12”

BLOOMS: Late Spring and all the way into Fall

GOLDENRODS [DWARF VARIETIES]: Golden Fleece (Solidago Sphacelata); Baby Gold (Solidago)

One of the best bee flowers for late summer and fall!

COLOR: Bright Yellow

LIGHT: Full Sun

HEIGHT: 12-18”

BLOOMS: Late Summer and Fall

INDIAN BLANKET (Gaillardia Pulchella)

Daisy-like wildflower that will beautifully blanket the ground in colors often found in Native American blankets.

COLORS: Red, Yellow, Red/Yellow Bicolor, Orange, Maroon

LIGHT: Full Sun

HEIGHT: 12-18”

BLOOMS: Late Spring to Fall

MIGNONETTE SWEET SCENTED (Reseda Odorata)

Spear-like, insignificant blooms that surprise you with their fragrant punch. This plant will turn your patio into a perfumery!

COLORS: Spiked clusters of small reddish unassuming flowers

LIGHT: Full Sun to Partial Shade

HEIGHT: 12-24”

BLOOMS: All Summer

PINCUSHION FLOWER (Caprilfoliaceae)

Long bloomer with frilly petals that surround what really looks like its namesake -- a domed cushion in the flower center with stamens that look like pins in a pincushion.

COLOR: Lavender-Blue

LIGHT: Full Sun (tolerates Partial Shade in hot climates)

HEIGHT: 12-15”

BLOOMS: Early Spring until first frost

SWEET ALYSSUM (Lobularia Maritima syn. Alyssum Maritimum)

This member of the mustard family emits a zesty fragrance from its clusters of miniature blossoms.

COLORS: Pink, Purple, Salmon, Yellow, White

LIGHT: Full Sun to Partial Shade

HEIGHT: 3-6”

BLOOMS: Spring until Frost

TIDY TIPS (Layia Platyglossa and Layia Fremontii)

Perky Yellow/White daisy-like wildflower.

COLORS: Yellow and White

LIGHT: Sun

HEIGHT: 6-12”

BLOOMS: Spring


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