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June Walking Tour - Pollinators
By Sonya Anderson, horticulturist
This year National Pollinator Week is June 17-23. In recognition, Denver Botanic Gardens will offer pollinator-related talks and activities that are free to all with the price of admission from Wednesday, June 19 through Saturday, June 22. Please come join us!
Many pollinators can be observed throughout the gardens this month. The honeybees are quite prevalent and just this week I saw my first hummingbird of the season. But there are so many different pollinators to see and enjoy. Our native pollinator bees include bumblebees, leafcutter bees, mason bees and even sweat bees, to name a few. Other pollinators include butterflies, moths, hawkmoths, flies, ants and slugs.
Some of the plants and gardens where you will find the most pollinators right now are as follows:
Catmint (Nepeta spp. and cvs.)
Catmint is in full bloom right now and is sure to be covered in bees looking for nectar. From the Water-Smart Garden to the Perennial Walk to the Herb Garden to the Rock Alpine Garden, be sure to stop and appreciate the festive atmosphere as the bees buzz all over the catmint. In addition to catmint, thyme, sage and chives are just some of the plants in the Herb Garden that are bee magnets right now.
The poppies in the Birds and Bees Walk are in their full glory looking like swimming pools for bees on a hot July day. After observing the poppies, be sure to read about the Monarch butterfly’s relationship to milkweeds on the sign in that same garden bed.
Ornamental Onions (Allium spp. and cvs.)
These spectacular round purple flower heads that average 3-5 inches in diameter are bursting into bloom right now and are another serious target for nectar-seeking bees. From the tiny blue allium in the Water-Smart Garden, to the giant purple ‘Ambassador’ in the Darlene Radichel Plant Select Garden, look for the bees making their way slowly among the tiny florets that make up these globe-shaped flower heads. (And if you have been yearning to add ornamental onions to your own garden, order some before June 24 in our gift shop or online through our Fall Plant and Bulb Sale bulb pre-order.)
Creeping Veronica (Veronica spp. and cvs.)
These lovely plants can be found throughout the Gardens as they are such an adaptable, useful and attractive plant, plus the bees love them too! Whether you are in the Perennial Walk, the Romantic Gardens, PlantAsia, or strolling past our parking garage, you will see bees happily drinking from these nectar-filled sparkling blue flowers.
Enjoy the Gardens and come celebrate pollinators with us from June 19-22.
Photos by Sonya Anderson