Here on the ass-end of summer, as I look at the plants that are successful, and the ones that died, I have the following observations. Self, please re-read this note next spring when planting fever hits.
The best plants for the hummingbird are the cherry sage. Hummingbird can’t get enough of that stuff, and it’s as hardy as a mule.
The best plants for bees are bee balm, brazilian verbena and anise hyssop. Hyssop’s doin’ okay, verbena seems fine, bee balm I’m not sure of, may not be getting enough water.
Best for butterflies are the butterfly bush (astonishment!) and the lantana. Both solid performers. Butterfly weed might work, but it never flowered. Joe Pye Weed grew, but not well, and I don’t much like it, and the butterflies never showed up on it.
Best for goldfinches are the echinacea and the liatris. The liatris did astonishingly well, then died back a bit, the echinacea looks like hell now that it’s down to seed heads, but I couldn’t get rid of it if I wanted to, which I don’t.
Black-eyed susan is starting to perform again, after a spotty start. I love them for themselves, and they’re supposed to spread vigorously. Portacula did well. Homestead verbena’s growin’ like a charm.
Use these plants in the future, self! Anything else we bought vanished, or is uninteresting, or baked in the sun, or didn’t get enough water, or didn’t get enough sun, or died for no apparent reason. This is fine. This is why we buy one of each the first year.