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Winter Blooms for Pollinators

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clumps of paperwhite narcissus are up in my yard and any day I expect to see a flower stalk.  Although these fragrant bulbs aren’t attractive to European honey bees, other late winter, early bulbs are. Hyacinth and scilla blossoms, especially blue ones, a favorite color for bees, are relatively inexpensive, easy to grow and not only make your garden beautiful but their tubular flowers provide food for pollinators. And crocus blossoms which bring bright cheer when massed under deciduous trees or planted in drifts also give foraging bees nourishment when they venture out from their hives on warmish days.  Many winter flowering bulbs (except for tulips) reliably flower year after year and are super easy to plant – all you need is a trowel. Soon you can order them for delivery next fall and have years of beauty and support bees. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.