East Tennessee's Mountain Views

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Vonore, TN 37885


Overhill Gardens’ Illuminations on Fragrance with Flora and Fauna

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 | Uncategorized | No Comments

With the recent explosion of wildflowers thrusting their way up into the soil, we suggest you take a thoughtful look at the common daisy flower. Do you know that nearly every native winged insect alights on the daisy sooner or later through the course of the season? The landing pad of our daisy makes pollen collection so simple. There are no tubes or tiny openings making for difficult pollen harvest. These insects are closing in on, you guessed it, fragrance! Not the type of fragrance that may draw you to a lilac or a magnolia, but the more subtle enticement for the airborne butterfly, moth, bird, and insect.

Here at Overhill Gardens, your resident native plant supplier in Vonore, we strive to attract a myriad of smell seekers! For instance, having just completed the spring arrival of the endearing wild Columbine, we welcomed the ruby-throated hummingbird, who charges deep into the flower where the nectar dwells. Other wings such as the bumblebees turn out to be the only insect beefy enough to draw nectar from the Columbine, while smaller insects cheat and nibble through the nectar end of the spur.

Later in the season, this same ruby-throated hummingbird will be drawn to another heartthrob of color, the Cardinal flower. With the current decline of the ruby-throated hummingbird, the Cardinal flower suffers… the catch-22 being that the interdependence weakens both species. Overhill Gardens can get you started on Cardinal flowers for your wet meadow areas or moist stream sides while you supply our environment with that critical role of providing food for the fauna.

Beardtongues, those white-blue violet-pinky-purple foxglove flower flirtations, attract three species of bumblebees, five species of moths, and our little ruby-throated. The beardtongues make a stately showing when grouped in masses, blooming well in hot dry places. Overhill Gardens supplies a half dozen selections, ranging from four inches in stature up to four feet in height, with current blooming displays.

The Milkweed family serves as a “host” plant for the half dozen species who roam the flower at any one time, as well as our Monarch butterfly. (Beware of their bright colors, since their robes serve as a warning feature for protecting itself from predators.) Milkweeds offer both color and extraordinary sweetness, but if you happen to be a cow chomping on one of these plants, they contain a substance strong enough to induce a heart challenge. For a first rate display of butterflies, Overhill Gardens cultivates several local forms of Milkweed, such as Whorled, Swamp, Showy, Common, and Butterfly.

One of the big, late summer players, the Goldenrods, have no problem flagging down hungry pollinators. Although they emit a chemical flavoring very distasteful to deer, they are an attractive source of nectar for bees, flies, wasps, and butterflies. However, some entreating praying mantises end up laying their eggs in the nearest “rod” as they ambush those late season beneficial insects as well as each other.

At Overhill Gardens, there are more than a dozen different flavors of Goldenrod, from ground covers up to six footers, displaying their radiant lights. By the way, some people are under the misconception that Goldenrods cause allergies. In fact, the pollen causing these allergy problems is mainly produced by Ragweed, blooming at the same time as the Goldenrod, but is wind-pollinated. Goldenrod pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown far from the flowers and is thus mainly pollinated by insects.

If your property has large areas of lawn requiring massive weekly mowing, consider the native shrubs and wildflowers that can drastically reduce the lawn upkeep. You can think in terms of restoring a refreshing balance to the natural world. Come on out to Overhill Gardens!

Overhill Gardens
Avi Askey
(423) 295-2288

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East Tennessee's Mountain Views

P.O. Box 209

Vonore, TN 37885

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