May is Garden for Wildlife Month, a time set aside by the National Wildlife Federation for folks to consider the needs of migrating species—butterflies, birds and wildlife of all kinds—as they make their ways to their summering grounds. May is a high-traffic month in the migratory bird and butterfly worlds. Back yards are crucial pitstops along that journey. Making your landscape pollinator-friendly means providing food, water and shelter to these creatures in transition.
Southern Living Plant Collection has many varieties that pollinators of all kinds will be abuzz about. Here are just a few to satisfy not only May migrating birds and butterflies, but all types of pollinators searching for food all season long.
A long-time garden favorite, Shasta Daisies, or Leucanthemums, have earned their reputation as easy-care, deer-resistant perennials. Real Charmer adds tough disease resistance and a longer bloom season to your garden and a longer buffet for pollinators. This charmer blooms profusely from early summer into fall with large cream to lemon decorative blooms and fancy, fringed, deep golden central petals.
Saucy™ Wine and Saucy™ Red Salvia
Saucy™ Wine and Saucy™ Red Salvia are splendens-type salvias; these lovely tender perennials shine with bright blooms in USDA Zones 9ab-10b. The tubular shape of the flower is the perfect fit for hummingbirds as they sip on nectar. Both Saucy™ varieties are bursting with blooms from April through November, catching those migrating creatures on both legs of their journey. The best things about both? The flowers are “self-cleaning,” so there’s no need for deadheading. Plus while birds and butterflies love them, munching deer do not. It’s a no-brainer to include these Saucies in your pollinator garden—the only question is burgundy-red or scarlet-red?
Until recently, tecomas grew huge, bloomed only in spring and fall, and were often covered with unattractive seed pods. New breeding produced Bells of Fire Tecoma; Bells of Fire stays more compact and blooms bright red bell-shaped flowers continuously until frost. Hummingbird and butterfly lovers alike will appreciate this shrub, as both winged friends are attracted to the tubular blooms of Tecomas.
With any of these varieties in your landscape, you’ll have more than the month of May covered for your pollinating visitors. And you’ll feel great that you’re energizing them for the trip back to wherever they call home.