Time to Think About the Birds and the Bees: Habitat Garden Seed Mixes

April 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM Leave a comment

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
Time to Think About the Birds and the Bees:  Habitat Garden Seed Mixes
Thank you for having signed up for horticultural emails from Kitchen Garden Seeds, Van Engelen and John Scheepers.* Our buzzing and fluttering friends on sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos.

When we talk about gardens, what we usually talk about is plants. But it’s the bees, birds and butterflies that bring our gardens to life. Without birds, there’d be no music. Without hummingbirds and butterflies, there’d be no flying rainbows. And without bees, life would be less sweet with little good to eat.

As gardeners we can have a big impact on the lives of these wild creatures. Our gardens can provide food as well as water, cover and places for nesting. Our Habitat Gardens Seed Mixes make it easy to serve up a full menu of nectar-rich plants, host plants and seed-bearing plants. A succession of colorful flowers will delight the eye and also make your yard a popular destination for wildlife. Each mix includes more than a dozen different annuals and perennials to ensure a long season of blooms. This assortment of many different species also ensures success in a wide range of growing conditions.

It takes just minutes to sow these carefree seed mixes, but an entire summer to enjoy their casual beauty and abundant benefits. Our Butterfly Habitat Flower Garden puts on a 3-month summer camp for butterflies, and will attract all kinds, from fritillaries and skippers to swallowtails and monarchs. The mix features blossoms with the flat “landing zones” butterflies prefer, such as Achillea, Asters, Echinacea, Cosmos and Verbena. Each ¼-pound bag of seed plants 450 square feet.

With bees and other pollinators under so much environmental stress, a plentiful supply of nectar and pollen can be critical for survival. The bees in your neighborhood will be healthy and very happy when they discover you have planted our Bumblebee Habitat Garden. It’s a 21-course feast, with Borage, Gillyflower, Catmint, Lupines, California Poppies and much more. If you have a vegetable garden, you’ll find that attracting bees also boosts fruit production, resulting in more Peppers, Eggplants, Cucumbers and Squash. A ¼-pound bag of seed plants about 1000 square feet.

No matter how many times we see them darting through the garden, Hummingbirds always surprise and delight us, as if magical, other-worldly guests were gracing us with special visits. Which of course, they are. Make sure they are daily visitors by planting our irresistible Hummingbird Habitat Flower Garden. The flowers in this mixture produce lots of sweet nectar for serious sipping. Hummingbird favorites include Mallow, Asters, Clarkia, Delphinium, Lavatera, Bee Balm and Zinnias. One seed packet plants about 450 square feet.

Songbirds will sing their hearts out when they see you have planted a Songbird Habitat Flower Garden. Seed-producing favorites include Amaranth, Coreopsis, Helianthus, Poppies and eight others. All are popular food sources for chickadees, warblers, thrushes, cardinals, finches and wrens. A ¼-pouind bag covers about 750 square feet.

Growing a Wildlife Wonderland
Plant your habitat garden any time after danger of frost has passed, but before mid-June to ensure the plants have enough time to flower and set seed. Choose a sunny site and prepare the soil by removing all weeds (including any grass). Young seedlings can’t compete with established grass or weeds, so for best success, start with a weed-free planting bed. We find that mixing some dry sand with the seed at a ratio of about 10:1 (sand to seed) makes it easier to disburse a relatively equal amount of seed over the entire area. The seeds should not be covered with more than about ¼ inch of soil, so simply use a rake to very lightly mix the seed with the soil. Water well, then water as often as needed to keep the soil surface moist for the next three to four weeks. Remove any fast-growing weeds that threaten to overpower the plants.

The first flowers will start appearing in about eight weeks. As the season progresses, you’ll see several waves of color according to the natural blooming times of the different species. In late fall, the area can be mowed (no shorter than 4 to 6 inches) to help scatter the seeds for next year. The following spring, a supplemental seeding will help the planting  become well-established.

Keeping a log of which flowers perform best, and what types of bees, butterflies and birds they attract, is a fun way to learn about the wildlife in your little part of the world. It can be a beautiful keepsake when illustrated with photos, sketches or pressed flowers. If there are children in your life, planting one or more of our Habitat Gardens is a wonderful way to connect them to the natural world. Add a birdbath, toad house and some nesting boxes to create your own backyard environmental science center!

We share our best-of-the-best recipes so you can feed your family and friends well without feeling frenzied, and practical, hands-on horticultural tips to demystify gardening with seeds (it need not be tricky or difficult. Truth be told, it is a bit more like easy magic.) If you need help with anything, our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can email us at customerservice@kitchengardenseeds.com or call us at (860) 567-6086. Lance Frazon, our seed specialist, is happy to help you in any way possible. He loves to talk seeds.

-To see our seed collection click: Flowers, gourmet fruits & vegetables and aromatic herbs.

-To request a 2013 Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog, click: Request catalog.

-To look at our yummy recipes, like Creamy Guacomole Salad Dressing, click: Recipes.

-Or, call us at (860) 567-6086: we will help you in any way we can!

 

*We never rent or borrow email addresses from anywhere. In the course of requesting one of our bulb or seed catalogs, you provided us with your email address. If you prefer to not receive any emails from us, please know that we honor all unsubscribe requests.

 

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds

23 Tulip Drive * PO Box 638 * Bantam, CT 06750
Phone: (860) 567-6086 * Fax: (860) 567-5323
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Entry filed under: Green Information.

The Greening Of Chicago And The City’s Future As An Eco-Friendly Leader Cosmos, an old fashioned favorite.

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