Alphabet for Pollinators – B is for Buttonbush

  • Post published:03/11/2020
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Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, loves the water.

It quickly became clear to us  that our new Greenfield garden was very wet. In the western regions we might even say swampy for a good part of the year. I learned that Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, is the perfect shrub for such a site. Indeed, it is sometimes used for riparian repair. Its roots at the edge of rivers and streams hold the edges in place. My buttonbush is happy in its swamp

Buttonbush has unusual spiky flowers that are fragrant. It is a native plant and attracts many species of birds and butterflies. Its needs some sun and blooms in mid-summer. A ball-like fruit will last over the winter.  My beautiful buttonbush is a spready four feet tall.

buttonbush in Minneapolis trip
Buttonbush closeup in July

Other familiar flowers begin with the letter B. There is baby’s breath, balloon flower, bellflower, black-eyed susan, blanket flower, blazing star, bachelor buttons, bleeding heart and more than I can count.

bee balm
Bee balm, otherwise known as bergamot or most scientifically Monarda

How many B plants do  you have in your garden? Bee balm/bergamot attracts bees of all sorts, butterflies and hummingbirds. In our old Heath house we could see our large stand of bee balm from  the dining table. What did we see? Hummingbirds! And they were hungry, but satisfied by the bee balm.


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