I have a rather robust flower garden that consists of some rarely found (at least rarely found in Wisconsin) wildflowers. My favorite is a large bunch of Globe Thistle flowers. These perennial beauties require very little work and serve as an invitation to bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and even some very rare visitors. Plus, they are a fantastic conversation piece among friends and family.

As part of the thistle family, the plants do have thorns on the leaves. Placed strategically, they can serve as a fence against bunnies and other small critters that might attack a flower garden. But I find navigating around the plants simple when I’m in the garden.

Flowers stretch as high as 4 feet tall and sit upon strong stems (no thorns). Blooms begin in the spring and start as small yellow balls – about the size of a gumball. As the flowers mature, they sprout violet or dark blue petals. The globe will grow to between 2 and 3 inches across and although it appears spiky, the petals are quite soft.

The flowers will last roughly 8 weeks, all the while attracting various species of bees, wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds and even the occasional and rarely seen hummingbird moth (captured below on a Phlox flower).

Moth hummingbird on Phlox flower
Hummingbird Moth on my Phlox

Visitors in my Garden

Not only are these plants easy to maintain, but they produce pollinator-friendly flowers. In addition to standard honeybees, I recently photographed a wasp that I later learned was a Great Golden Digger wasp. Although it appeared relatively menacing at over an inch long, I learned that these are very docile and non-threatening to people. In fact, they are reportedly difficult to analyze because they are quite skittish around anything larger in size. I was fortunate because it appeared to be far more interested in this beautiful plan than it was in me.

A Great Golden Digger Wasp

It’s so important to plant flowers that you not only enjoy, but those that also help support the pollinator population. So many plants actually depend on pollinators, such as bees and other insects, for reproduction. In fact, many farmers are looking at the advantages of planting wildflowers among crops, but we can help them by including these beautiful flowers in our own gardens.

Some of the many flowers known to attract pollinating insects include: Lavender, Black-eyed Susan, Globe Thistle, Beebalm, Sunflower, Cone Flower, Crocus, Catnips, Phlox, Zinnia, Aster and Marigold.

The hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is a species of hawk moth found across temperate regions of Eurasia. It is named for their similarity with hummingbirds, as they feed on nectar of tube-shaped flowers using their long proboscis while hovering in the air; the resemblance is an example of convergent evolution. Source Wikipedia
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