bee-friendly helenium flowers
Image: Kate Bryant
Helenium - one of the most pollinator-friendly summer-blooming perennials you can grow!

The Sabin neighborhood is again rockin' the pollinator-friendly gardening world this summer. Last summer, the inner NE Portland's Sabin Neighborhood Association initiated two great fun and educational tours: the front yard and the backyard bee-friendly garden tours.

Organized by the Sabin Neighborhood Association in conjunction with Portland's Office of Neighborhood Involvement and the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, the Bee-Friendly Backyard Garden Tour is just a one-day event - this year, it took place on Saturday July 14, 2013, showcasing 13 great pollinator-friendly gardens in Sabin. (Click here for tour guide with garden descriptions and photos. Just note that the date has passed already for this year!) But the Bee-Friendly Front Yard Garden Tour is ongoing and can be taken any time, year-round: just print out the map here and take the tour anytime. 

As you visit the gardens, you'll notice that some of them have yard signs with a Stop ID and a phone number (503-205-0326). Call the phone number and press the Stop ID to hear each gardener talk about their bee-friendly garden.

It's a great idea... visit all or just pick out a few that you have time for any time you're in the neighborhood.  The Sabin Neighborhood also provides a link with good information on bee-friendly gardening. Keep a notebook and write down ideas as you are inspired. And, of course, watch for bees and myriad other pollinators. Morning and afternoon visits are best, as pollinator activity slows as afternoon turns to evening.

The top three pollinator-attracting plants, seen during the Sabin Backyard Bee Tour, that were positively humming with pollinators in mid-July: Agastache, Helenium and Monarda. Come fall, keep an eye out for Hylotelephium (formerly known as Sedum telephium hybrids) and all variety of asters: these come into flower as summer turns to fall.

Check out this link for more pollinator-friendly gardening tips.

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