June 2022 — Volume 12, No. 5
Dear Friends,
June is National Pollinator Month! June 20-26 is National Pollinator Week!
Native plant guru, researcher, professor and author Doug Tallamy recommends that 70% of our gardens be planted with natives. That leaves 30% for non-native plants. You may enjoy his books Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope. Native plants and native pollinators evolved together and depend upon each other for their continued existence. 

We at PBOG are striving to plant straight native species whenever possible to provide food and habitat for a multitude of native pollinators. However, at times we (or you) may choose to plant a nativar or non-native. This is completely fine, so please don’t feel guilty!

What’s a nativar? This is a selection of a native plant cultivated for particular traits, qualities, or characteristics, such as flower, stem, or leaf color. Heights may also differ, or the plant may be bred for mildew resistance, among other traits. Research by experts has shown that the nativars do not provide as much nutrition for pollinators as straight native species. Yet nativars are worth noting and considering in certain garden situations.

Worthy non-natives with lots of pollen include annuals like Zinnias and Tithonia, newer long-blooming perennial Allium ‘Millenium,’ herbs like fennel and dill, foxgloves, and single daisies.

Who are the pollinators? Not only bees and butterflies, but bats, birds, small wasps, flies, and moths. 

The only thing we need to be sure to avoid is allowing the invasive plants to thrive. The usual suspects are Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, bittersweet, and buckthorn. How do you know if you have these plants? Please ask your PBOG Garden Team Leader when they are working in your garden. We can suggest viable, non-invasive or native plant alternatives. In addition, Kim Kuliesis is happy to make an appointment for a site visit with you to ID invasives (or any of your other plants). Contact Kim at kimberly@pumpkinbrookorganicgardening.com

I love my non-native roses, irises, and peonies in June! Clematis, too. I love non-native bulbs: daffodils, tulips, and also small native bulbs like Erythroniums (Dog-tooth violet). Non-native viburnums ‘Summer Snowflake’ and ‘Mariesii’ (double file) bloomed for nearly a month this year. And I also love my completely naturalized and native maple leaf viburnum colony that peeks out of a corner at woods' edge and is a transition from the cultivated to the wild. 

Pollinator Pathway
Small signs with the intriguing words “Pollinator Pathway” began appearing in our area in the past two years to mark home or municipal gardens that are pesticide-free and planted with native pollinator plants. This group began in Connecticut, and its message has spread up and down the Eastern seaboard! See their website, www.pollinator-pathway.org to find gardens and events near you or in areas where you might be traveling this summer.

In our area, Lincoln has a pocket park across from the shopping center and train station on Lincoln Road that is marked by a Pollinator Pathway sign. Take a moment to visit this public site any time.  
Plant Pick
Maple Leaf Viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium

One of my staff cut this native shrub back a few years ago to reduce tick habitat on my woods edge, thinking he was being helpful.
Initially I was alarmed, but it resprouted with multiple stalks and has more small white flowers than ever before! This is an important plant for bird forage in fall. They quickly strip it of decorative berries that turn from red to blue-black. I enjoy touching its quilted leaves whenever I pass by this shrub. These leaves turn lovely shades of scarlet and bronze in the fall. Maple leaf viburnum is not bothered by any pests or diseases, and deer give it a pass - another plus. It has small stature for a shrub, about 4’-6’ tall and wide.
Priscilla’s Garden To-Do List for June:
  • Get out and enjoy all the bloom in your garden
  • Finish editing any spreading perennials
  • Keep up with weeding, especially weeds with seedheads
  • Finish mulching beds, or ideally plant spreading groundcover or short perennials to reduce quantity of mulch needed
  • Finish planting by month’s end when the hot weather begins
  • Deadhead peony, iris, roses, and other perennials after bloom
  • Pinch tall plants back by half and do this twice before the 4th of July to control sprawl later (Aster, Boltonia, Helenium, Helianthus, Amsonia)
  • Allow poppy foliage to ripen and go dormant, then pull it off once browned out
  • Tie up any flopping canes of climbing rose or honeysuckle
  • Change spring container plants to a summer look
  • Harvest scapes (curling seedheads) of garlic to direct energy into the developing bulb
  • Feed garlic with fish fertilizer twice during June to provide extra nutrition and encourage large bulbs to develop
  • Harvest lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and other leafy greens often before they bolt
  • Replace parsley plants from last year as they push out flower stalks, set seed, and turn bitter tasting
  • Conscientiously water new plantings following our summer watering instructions: Summer Watering Guidelines *** When watering please follow your town guidelines for water conservation and adhere to any restrictions (ex: watering every other day).  

Most of all, enjoy your garden during the longest days of the year that are just ahead! We look forward to helping you with your summer garden chores,
– Priscilla & The PBOG Crew
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