8 Pollinator-Friendly Plants at Longfellow Gardens
August 15, 2019 by Madeleine Koski
The Longfellow House, which is home to our Parks Foundation offices, is surrounded by natural beauty, including Minnehaha Falls and Regional Park, the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Creek, and the stunning Longfellow Gardens, which sits right next door and makes the view from our windows rather exceptional.
Longfellow Gardens is located just west of Minnehaha Park, off of Minnehaha Parkway. Interestingly, the Garden rests on a land bridge, which crosses over Minnesota State Highway 55, connecting Minnehaha Creek and Regional Park above the busy thoroughfare. The Gardens, in total, cover an area of over 13 acres and host a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Managed by Teresa Burton of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and her team, the Garden is re-imagined and designed each year to replace annuals from the previous season.
While the beauty of the colors and textures seen at Longfellow Gardens is itself enough to amaze you, there is more to the story than just visual impact:
“Plants are chosen not only for their aesthetics but also their disease resistance, tolerance of site conditions, and their ability to attract beneficial insects and pollinators. One very important aspect in any gardening program is choosing the right plant for the right place.” – Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
This month, we asked Teresa to help us take a deeper look at the plants seen at our neighboring garden and have showcased eight different pollinator-friendly species.
#1. Torch Tithonia, commonly known as the Mexican Sunflower. A favorite among Monarchs. Annual.
#2. Ageratum Houstonianum, commonly known as Bluemink or Floss Flower. Annual.
#3. Cuphea hybrid known as Vermillionaire, commonly known as the Firecracker Plant. Annual.
#4. Allium Senescens, or the Pink Planet. Alliums include species such as onion, garlic, leaks, scallion, shallot, and chives within their genus, but these flowering Alliums are referred to as ornamental onions. Often favored by bees, these goldenrod soldier beetles are enjoying some nectar in the photo below. Perennial.
#5. Salvia Amistad, commonly called Friendly Sage. Often favored by hummingbirds who pass through these gardens in September. Annual.
#6. Monarda, commonly known as Bee Balm. Perennial.
#7. Asclepias, commonly known as Milkweed. The leaves of Milkweed are a food source for Monarch larvae. Perennial.
#8. Echinacea Purpurea, Ruby Star, commonly known as the Coneflower. Perennial.
If you are interested in adding more Monarch butterflies to your day, check out the Minneapolis Monarch Festival – Festival de la Monarca on September 7th from 10am – 4pm at Lake Nokomis Park. The Nokomis Naturescape is a certified Monarch Waystation.
Throughout the month of September, Longfellow Gardens will be home to hummingbirds flying through on their migration south. They will stay and feast on the nectar of many plants in the Garden but are commonly known to enjoy the Black and Blue Salvia mentioned above.