bees pollinating culver's root
bees pollinating culver’s root


I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but I’m finally caving in and commenting on ours…hot and dry and has been for ages now! In our Wildlife-friendly Demonstration Garden at CWF headquarters in Ottawa, we never water plants unless they are new and getting established. But this heat wave of 30 celcius and above with not a drop of water is finally getting to a few of our longtime plants. At least it’s just a little wilting rather than dying thank goodness, and the blooms are still coming. Here’s what’s new this week:

culver's root

Culver’s root is a fairly tall plant that can usually keep upright without staking. Its spike of flowers are a magnet for bees, as you can see from this week’s top photo!

greater St. John's wort

Greater St. John’s wort is another tall plant that bees enjoy.

Allium stellatum

This wild onion (Allium stellatum) makes a nice flowerhead. The plants will spread, but I’m told their bulbs are edible which might be a fun way to keep them in check (although, to be on the safe side, please research any plant you plan on eating!).

Allium cernuum

Another wild onion (Allium cernuum) has paler pink flowers but is equally loved by pollinators. In our garden they tend to form larger leaves than their cousin above. Their spreading tends to look more like clumps rather than A. stellatum‘s spreading blanket This is a photo from another year that I just love.

pokeweed - Phytolacca americana

This pokeweed plant (Phytolacca americana) looks like a shrub but dies back each year, with no woody stem remaining over winter. It makes a stunning purply-pink berry but is poisonous so it may not be suitable in your garden.

golden currant berries

Our golden currant, a shrub which had yellow flowers a few weeks ago, is now covered in ripening berries that the birds will soon devour.

obedient plant

We have obedient plants in our Hummingbird Bed. They form a nice tall clump but can be aggressive spreaders in some gardens.

obedient plant

Here’s a close up of their flowers. In the past we had a naturally occurring pink variety which I haven’t seen bloom yet. Below is a photo of it with a halictid bee, one of our native bees. I think both the flower and its visitor are remarkable to look at.

Halictid bee on naturally occurring pink variety of Obedient plant

For more information visit and be sure to check out our new homepage photo contest while you’re there!

Photos: Sarah Coulber