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Joan, this is an excellent topic especially for planning next year's planting!

I''ve been planting mint starts around the trees in my little orchard.  The plan is to have a ground cover that attract beneficial insects, including honey and other bees, as well as smells good.  Mints are invasive, so best grown where it doesn't matter or in confinement like a barrel or with edging.  Not self sowing, but spread fast through runners.

Lavender is also great for attracting insects and bees.

I am also planting a lot of onion-family plants like ornamental alliums, chives,  chinese chives.  Those flowers are very attractive to bees.

I've been trying for years to get rid of lemon balm.  It's great to attract insects, but everywhere I look, there is more.  It's very prolific in my yard.

Sweet alyssum is low growing, fragrant, and the beneficials like it.  Sweet Alyssum self sows but not invasive.

There's dandelions.....  but not everyone likes them!

I am adding dutch clover (the low white clover) to my fruit tree surrounds, for the insects and nitrogen fixation properties.  I may also add red clover for diversity.  Again, those bees!

Thanks for posting this, Joan!  It's a great topic to think about, especially in a world where so many people think of all insects as the enemy.  Most insects are beneficial, and in a diverse garden, the predatory insects keep the bad guys well controlled.

Here are some other lists of plants that attract beneficial insects.  Not necessarily self sowing.

farmer fred - looks complicated, but I saw that some plants benefit several beneficial insects.  Such as coriander, marigolds, and dandelions.

Mother Earth News - possibly too extensive.  Maybe the best thing is to look through it and see what you like.  Last year I added Asclepias to my yard.  I wonder if it will survive - some insects like that one.  I think I'll add Jerusalem Artichoke next year too.  That was on the list.

The North Carolina State list is easier to read.  I wonder if I really want knotweed?  This year I will add crimson and white sweet clover.  I have yarrow.  Queen Anne's lace grows wild here.  I imagine carrots could be allowed to go to seed for the same benefit.  That would mean overwintering  them, or planting actual carrots, not the seeds.  I think (not know) carrots are biennial.

Oh! I like Farmer Fred's lists. That is a keeper; so is Mother Earth News. and N. Carolina State's. Well, we have all the information, now all we need to do is start finding seeds, or planning for the seeds that we can grow and harvest for seed.

Carrot seeds are pretty and they are biannual.

I wouldn't deliberately put in knotweed; that would be asking for trouble, especially in your area.

Thanks Sentient! 

Joan, we are thinking the same way.

I haven't grown marigolds from seeds for years.  Packets should be cheap, so I want to try next Spring.   I've been growing cilantro for years, and let them go to seed.  They are coming up all over.  We eat them, too.  I think Jerusalem Artichoke flowers are like sunflowers.  I grow some many years ago.  They make gigantic plants, so require a lot of space.  

Sentient, I grew Jerusalem artichokes many years ago, as well, and pulled them out for the same reasons. They are good tasting, easy to grow, propagate themselves and have spindly but pretty flowers, yellow, which could fit into my east garden again, Maybe I will put them in again.
"Similar to water chestnuts in taste, the traditional use of the tuber is as a gourmet vegetable. Jerusalem artichoke tubers resemble potatoes except the carbohydrates composing 75 to 80% of the tubers are in the form of inulin rather than starch. Once the tubers are stored in the ground or refrigerated, the inulin is converted to fructose and the tubers develop a much sweeter taste. Dehydrated and ground tubers can be stored for long periods without protein and sugar deterioration. Tubers can be prepared in ways similar to potatoes. In addition, they can be eaten raw, or made into flour, or pickled. They are available commercially under several names, including sunchokes and lambchokes."
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/jerusart.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=Jerusalem+Artichoke&hl=en&t...

Also Clovers.

White clover (Dutch white clover) is a great bee plant, compact grower, that was grown in mixed culture with lawn grasses until the era of herbicides and fertilizers.  Dutch white clover is compact, crowds out weeds, and pulls nitrogen out of the air and into the soil to stimulate itself and grasses.  I grew up thinking my parent's lawn was invaded by clover, but more likely it was planted that way in the first place.

Red, Crimson, and Alsike, and Sweet Clovers grow too tall for lawn, but have pretty flowers and also fix nitrogen.

The best for honey bees include  Alsike, White, and Sweet clovers.

I think the flowers of crimson and red clovers are very pretty, and would look nice in containers or flower gardens.  

Crimson Clover - pic via wikimedia commons.

File:Trifolium incarnatum.Crimson Clover、 クリムソンクローバー・ベニバナツメクサ.JPG

Also here is another list.

Clover seeds can be found via google searches or via amazon.  It's probably best to make sure they are listed as "inoculated", which means they contain beneficial bacteria that enable them to convert air nitrogen into soil, fertilizer nitrogen.   I bought some white clover seed to spread around my little orchard.  I planted them today, using a garden rack to smooth over the many molehills and sprinkle on clover seeds.  No freeze here yet, lots of rain.  I don't know if they will grow that way, but I think they will.  Moles kind of continuously bring up new soil in fresh hills, so I expect to have many more to spread around and seed as time passes.  Letting them do the work for me.

Again, it's my new obsession with honey bees.  Wanting to plant nectar-rich flowers for them.  But even without honey bees, clovers are useful and I like how they look.

Here is an interesting way to add beneficial plants, including clovers and others, to a garden.  I thought about doing this too, but didn't realize someone had a name for it, hedgerows.

Crimson clover! I'm seen it along my county road, but didn't know what it was. I tried transplanting it, but failed. White clover does well in my yard (invasive), attracting many bees.

Sentient, I remember clover in my parents lawn also, but don't know what kind it was.  I often searched for 4-leaf clovers (4 leaflets) because they were supposed to be good luck and the song "I'm Looking Over a 4 Leaf Clover" was popular in the late 1940's and early 50's.  I found them in abundance, and sometimes even 5, 6 7, & 8 leaflets.  I thought I had the best patch of clover in the world :)  However, having just read about clover in Wiki, I see the record is 56 leaflets.  My inner child is disappointed :(

Spud, your parents' clover was probably white dutch.  That's the type that grows low and is most capable of surviving lawn mowing.  Also bees love it.  I read a comment on one article, a mom was upset about her barefoot child being stung after stepping on a bee.  So she wants to nuke her yard with chemicals.  That way, no bee stings, just leukemia and mutant grandchildren.  

Joan! I am in seach of flowering plants for a long time which are easy to grow and flowers all the year arround to attract pollinating insects. Most of my cacti flower once a year(different species in different months) and flower usualy last for just a day. It causes lack of visitors in my garden and most of my flowers go unfertilized. Their leaves can also serve my catus by providing them necessary Carbon Dioxide at night for their CAM photosynthsis.

Amer, do you have marigolds in Pakistan?

Here is a list from Sentient Biped:


Lavender is also great for attracting insects and bees.

I am also planting a lot of onion-family plants like ornamental alliums, chives,  chinese chives.  Those flowers are very attractive to bees.

I've been trying for years to get rid of lemon balm.  It's great to attract insects, but everywhere I look, there is more.  It's very prolific in my yard.

Sweet alyssum is low growing, fragrant, and the beneficials like it.  Sweet Alyssum self sows but not invasive.

There's dandelions.....  but not everyone likes them!

I am adding dutch clover (the low white clover) to my fruit tree surrounds, for the insects and nitrogen fixation properties.  I may also add red clover for diversity.  Again, those bees!

***

another from Sentient:

 Sentient Biped on December 16, 2012 at 7:42pm

Here are some other lists of plants that attract beneficial insects.  Not necessarily self sowing.

farmer fred - looks complicated, but I saw that some plants benefit several beneficial insects.  Such as coriander, marigolds, and dandelions.

Mother Earth News - possibly too extensive.  Maybe the best thing is to look through it and see what you like.  Last year I added Asclepias to my yard.  I wonder if it will survive - some insects like that one.  I think I'll add Jerusalem Artichoke next year too.  That was on the list.

The North Carolina State list is easier to read.  I wonder if I really want knotweed?  This year I will add crimson and white sweet clover.  I have yarrow.  Queen Anne's lace grows wild here.  I imagine carrots could be allowed to go to seed for the same benefit.  That would mean overwintering  them, or planting actual carrots, not the seeds.  I think (not know) carrots are biennial.

***

I will look specifically for year round pollinators

Joan

 

Amer, I can't find my response I sent to you about year round pollinators. Did you not get it?
I need your temperature, rainfall, altitude, sunlight and effects of mountains on your garden. Also, what are some native plants that grow near you?
Does this site accurately record your weather conditions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamabad
Thanks for letting me share in your garden in Pakistan.

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