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Cultivate Simple 25: Planting for Pollinators

April 8th, 2013

This past Tuesday we packed up our microphones and headed in to the library to record a talk given by Deb Soule titled: Planting for Pollinators. Deb is the founder of Avena Botanicals in Rockport, ME. This summer we’ll be heading down there to see the gardens and take some photos. You’ll definitely be hearing all about it when we do.
From their website:
Avena Botanicals Herbal Apothecary offers a variety of hand-crafted herbal remedies for supporting the health and well being of our customers. Most of our products are made with herbs grown and hand-harvested from our own biodynamic garden situated on a 32-acre farm in Rockport, Maine. Avena was founded in 1985 by herbalist and gardener Deb Soule. In 1995, Avena moved to its current location where Deb was able to design and plant a large organic and biodynamic herb garden. This beautiful three-acre garden provides an abundance of certified biodynamic herbs for the apothecary, a classroom for students, nectar-producing flowers for pollinators and a peaceful place for visitors to renew their spirit and find healing in nature.

List of Plants Deb Mentions in her talk:

  • Solomon’s seal – (polyganatum spp.) – root is beneficial for: tendonitis, carpal tunnel
  • Native pink beebalm (monarda)
  • Lemon Bergamot (monarda citriodora) – annual beebalm,
  • Evening Primrose – (Oenthera biennis)
  • Grecian Foxglove (digitalis lanata)
  • Clary Sage (salvia scarea) – reseeds
  • Honeysuckle (red – Lonerica)
  • Hummingbird Sage (Salvia coccinea) (greenhouse early April)
  • Mexican Sunflower (tithonia rotundifolia) plant out early June
  • Lungwort (pulmonaria officinalis) flowering mid-May – shade loving, spreading
  • Larkspur
  • Marshmallow (Althea Officinalis)
  • Nicotiana, Jasmine Scented (nicotiana alata)
  • Sunflowers, great pollen producing plants, make sure you get a variety that produces pollen
  • Black Cohosh (cimicifuga racemosa) – part shade, woodland
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Swamp Milkweed (asclepias incarnata)
  • Common Milkweed (asclepias syrica)
  • Borage (borago officinalis)
  • Sacred Basil (ocimum sanctum) – fedco
  • Echinacea spp. – 9 species that are native, to US. (tenusienses is on the endangered plant list)
  • Blue Vervain (verbena hastata) – native, purple to blue, bloom through August, grow 3’-4’ tall
  • Linden (tilia spp) – tree
  • Hawthorne (crataegus spp) – cardiovascular tonic herb, dry berries for tea,
  • Hyssop (hyssop officinalis) – coughs, astringent
  • Lavender (lavendula spp)
  • Lemon Balm (melissa officianlis) – antiviral, good for relieving flu, etc.
  • Nasturium (tropaeolum) jewel mix, alaska mix
  • Poppy (Papaver Somnifera)
  • St Johnswort (hypericum frondosum)
  • Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) flower in first photo above
  • Greek Mullien (verbascum olympicus)
  • Rosa Rugosa (rugosa rose)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

Books about Herbs

8 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 25: Planting for Pollinators”
  1. Nebraska Dave on April 8, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Susy, I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but I will be listening a little later today while cleaning up the kitchen from the weekend. I had thoughts about having bees at Terra Nova Gardens but really didn’t want to take care of them. Planting to attract the pollinators sounds like just the plan for me. I see that sunflowers are on the list of plants and sunflowers were in the plan for this year.

    Thanks for always having such interesting podcasts.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  2. Misti on April 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Really loved this episode and I’m glad you listed out the plants she was mentioning because I was working and couldn’t write things down.

    I got a kick out of her pronunciations too, I like to hear how people say scientific names differently. I think she was talking about Salvia coccinea and I say coccinea with a hard C or making it sound like cox instead of cos. Anyway…just found that interesting.

    We’re salvia lovers and bought a bunch of different species this weekend at our local nursery, ones we hadn’t seen around before. I’ll have to look up their names tonight and I’ll post them here.

    Reply to Misti's comment

  3. DebbieB on April 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    What a great talk. I listened to it TWICE. Deb’s voice is soothing and peaceful, and I loved to hear her talk about the plants we can grow to not only attract the pollinators but to benefit us as well. Salvia, butterfly weed, and lavender were all in abundance at my local nursery yesterday – I think I’ll go back and get a few plants of each.

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  4. Colleen on April 8, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Thank you for this podcast, I really need to listen to it at least one more time, there is so much information. Thanks for listing the plants too.

    We have orchard mason bees that live on our property, they are a gentle bee and do not live in a typical bee hive and do not create honey. They are wonderful pollinators. They need mud to seal their nesting tubes; we have a pond fairly close to their nesting area.

    The hummingbirds have returned about a month ago and are busy. We are watching for the bats now.

    Reply to Colleen's comment

  5. Melanie in Ca on April 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Oh, thanks so much for this one (too)! I was inspired by the permaculture talks and have been laying out my little homestead plan. There’s a quarter-acre section that will be a perfect place to create a pollinator habitat, complete with water feature!

    I could listen to Deb for hours and really appreciate you listing out all the plants because I was, indeed, commuting during my first listening.

    Reply to Melanie in Ca's comment

  6. Marcia on April 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I’ve been planning a medicinal garden all winter and want to plant as many bee and bird friendly varieties as possible. I saw up to 4 different species of pollinators at once on my lambs ears last year. My husband thought I was a bit crazy as he would find me in the garden staring at my plants.

    Reply to Marcia's comment

  7. Cassie on April 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    This is just what I needed! I have been doing research on what to plant for my bees and then it comes delivered to my iPhone. Thanks!

    Reply to Cassie's comment

  8. amy on April 24, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Playing catchup on the podcast…..and so glad I am…..This one is marvelous! Thank you:)

    Reply to amy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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