Bloom time

After figuring out your light and soil conditions, and a colour scheme, you should have a manageable number of pollinator plant options. Now look at bloom time.

Aim to have flowers from early spring until fall to provide pollinators with a constant supply of food. To start, choose 3 to 5 types of flowers for each season. By choosing a variety of flower shapes, you’ll provide texture and interest in your garden, as well as feed different types of pollinators.

Planning table

I use a table with the 3 seasons along the side, and flower colour along the top to sort these variables. I plug in possible plant choices to make sure they’re evenly distributed. For example, I don’t want to end up with all of my white flowers in spring and all of the yellow flowers in fall. Add or change plants as needed.

This table ensures that I have plants blooming from spring until fall, and that the flower colours are distributed throughout the seasons.

I recently found a different style of chart to track bloom times and flower colours in a pollinator garden on Annie White’s site. (Annie White is a well-known researcher studying the value of native plant cultivars to native pollinators.) Scroll down the page to the ‘Diversify bloom times’ illustration to see how bloom times are represented by bars that match the flower colours.

To fill in gaps in the table or to make substitutions, you can search the Prairie Moon Nursery’s online Seeds catalogue by sun exposure, soil moisture, bloom time, height, and bloom colour.