Native bee forage: bird’s eyes
Bird’s eyes (Gilia tricolor) is a perfect plant for your pollinator garden, planter box, rockery, or roadside. This annual plant is native to California, but will grow in most areas of the United States and southern Canada. The flowers have lavender and white trumpet-shaped petals that come together in a yellow throat, hence the species name “tricolor.”
The really cool thing, however, is that these flowers are loaded with deep blue pollen. The pollen is a good source of protein that is known to attract native bees, honey bees, hover flies, and lady bugs. The fragrant flowers bloom from March through May, depending on your location.
Bird’s eyes require little maintenance and will grow on poor-quality soil as long as it is well-drained. The plants do particularly well in hot and dry areas, but thrive easily in cooler climates as well. The plants will re-seed themselves but are not invasive. If you are interested in dry arrangements, bird’s eyes are known for holding their color, even after drying.
I haven’t grown many of these before (just those in a mix) but when I saw the blue pollen I quickly ordered a packet (actually a whole ounce) which I’m told is about 64,000 seeds. Hmm . . . that ought to do it.