While it is quite easy to choose flowers to provide nectar for bees and other pollinators in the spring and summer months, we need to remember that these insects still need to feed during the winter. Fortunately there are some flowers and shrubs that bloom at this season and now is the time to plant them in the border. This article by Aislin Suparak Gibson which I found on the Houzz website describes how to add drama and food for pollinators with winter blooming flowers.
Halloween?s arrival means it?s time to set out treats for little ghosts, fairy princesses and bees. Yes, bees. Plant now for blooms in winter and early spring that will feed pollinators. As a bonus, these beauties are easy to care for, since they?re well-acclimated to cold temperatures. Their dramatic foliage and vivid colors make them a mysterious and bold color splash for fall and throughout the holidays.Onyx Odyssey hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus Winter Jewels Onyx Odyssey)
Pollinators and bees eagerly seek nourishing blooms to help them survive the winter. Some bumblebee species with furry coats may forage for food well into the winter months. Honeybees venture from the hive on rare, warm days when the temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, or 13 degrees Celsius, to search for nectar and pollen.
Here are a few plants that grow in a variety of regions, are tough enough to survive the cold, and complement native plantings by blooming during the lean winter and early-spring months.Mahonias
Native to eastern Asia, North and South America
?Charity? Oregon grape (Mahonia x media ?Charity?) features attractive flowers and berries that are tasty to wildlife.
These evergreen shrubs, also known as Oregon grape or barberry, have candy-like flower stalks with a fragrance reminiscent of lily-of-the-valley that bees find irresistible. Most mahonias have spiny leaves, making them an excellent choice for a privacy shrub or barrier. They?re also known to be deer-resistant.Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is native to some regions in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and northern Mexico. Photo by born1945
The hundreds of small flowers on each mahonia are attractive food sources for pollinators. Native bees, honeybees, hummingbirds and other pollinators can feast on many blooms in one spot while conserving precious energy.