Bee banquet

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clover 2

One of the things that happens when you sign up for one of those lawn services that treats your grass with a cocktail of pesticides/herbicides/fungicides and fertilizers is that you end up with a monoculture. That’s it, just one type of grass.

Aside from all the poisons that are being added (Why else are those little skull and crossbones signs posted after every treatment?) and the problems that creates for you and your pets and the environment, your lawn becomes just about as helpless as a newborn babe. That means your baby of a lawn becomes an easy target for any disease that comes along the pike, and is then a chem-junkie that cannot survive without frequent “treatments.” You and your lawn are now hooked.

On the other hand IF you were to forego the chemicals and say, seed in some different grasses and clover to your mix you not only get a green lawn that benefits — rather than threatens — pollinators. The clover helps to fix the nitrogen in the soil, which in turn feeds the various grasses. In effect the lawn is “feeding” itself. It’s what they call a win-win, for your grass, for the environment and your pocketbook as well.

Lately we have been leaving patches of the blooming Dutch clover for a honeybee banquet. Other pollinators enjoy it too. Plus by letting it bloom and go to seed, we are getting more than one benefit. Okay, I’ll admit it is pretty much a low-impact improvement, but hey, it’s summer and the living should be easy.

Flowering shrubs for early blooms

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6 Cedar in deep snow

Considering the feet of snow that covered the sunny border last winter, it seems hard to believe how quickly the flowering shrubs shrugged off the dormant season and put on their spring show.

One of the first to display its finery was the Snow Day ‘Blizzard’ pearl bush with its impressive flurry of snow-white white blooms.

snowberry

The ornamental quinces were next and there is nothing subtle about their spectacularly brilliant flowers. Deep orange, pink and red balls crowd the branches of Double Take series ‘Orange Storm, “Pink Storm” and ‘Scarlet Storm” quinces.

quince 'Scarlet Storm'

quince ‘Scarlet Storm’

Not to be overshadowed, the Yuki Cherry Blossom Deutzias chimed in next. These sweet little shrubs are compact and form colorful groundcovers. Be warned, however, you are bound to fall in love with this unique choice.

'Yuki Cherry Blossom' deutzia

‘Yuki Cherry Blossom’ deutzia

When it comes to early impact, count on the Weigelas. ‘Sonic Bloom Red’ not only provides brilliant purple/pink blooms, but reblooms through the fall on spreading plants.

sonic bloom weigela

Oh yeah, the hydrangeas and bush roses are coming along and they will be spectacular, but thank goodness for those early spring bloomers that get the garden started with color, form and interest.