Usually when August hits, I look around the garden and want more flowers. Most of the ones we planted have naturally run their course. We just don't have many late summer bloomers. Also, this year we planted an area of the garden which we had never sown before. Without much planning we planted cosmos, bachelor buttons, chammomile, sedum, catnip, and basil. It is part spillover herb patch and flowers. All summer I've been looking at this spot and imagining it as a bird and butterfly garden, full of native plants, as a place to encourage more pollinators.
So the question is, what variety of flowers do we plant that bloom throughout the season and also attract pollinators?
Answer: This site, Pollinator Partnership has exactly what I am looking for. On their planting guide page, you type in your zip code, and it gives you a free PDF to download, specific to your ecoregion. We are in the Prairie Parkland ecoregion. In addition to lots of information about the importance of supporting pollinators, understanding your ecoregion and pollinator traits, how to set up your landscape, etc., towards the end of the PDF there are charts showing trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, and vines to plant that attract pollinators. The charts also list the plant color, when it blooms, the size, soil and sun needs, and the pollinators it attracts. Bingo! Now I'm a kid in a candy shop, looking through and picking out ideas for next year. I'm glad to see we have some already on the list and hope to combine those with other native varieties to prolong the season. The pollinator.org website is a great resource, whether your garden consists of one or more potted plants or takes up your entire yard, check it out if you haven't already!