Something I Overlooked:
This year will be my second year as a beekeeper and hopefully I will do a better job than my freshman year. At this moment I just hope the bees survive this roller coaster winter. I know there are still some bees in the hive since I’ve seen dead bees on fresh snow all the time. I would consider it a small but vital victory if I have a new generation of bees born into and multiplying in our garden, as short as life is for them.
Well, since I can’t do much of anything outside or help the bees in any way I’ll just search through a pile of catalogs for plants that are good for bees that I can add to the garden. It just dawned on me that there are many other ways to provide pollen and nectar for bees than just growing plants I find in catalogs. While cataloging photographs I’ve been taken either in our garden or while on vacation, I’ve found some simple facts that I’ve overlooked regarding plants for bees.
- There are water plants that bees love, like Waterlilies (Nymphaea) and Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera).
- Letting some weeds flower. Bees forage on weeds such as Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), White Clover (Trifolium repens), Goldenrod (Salidago canadensis) and Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota). Weeds to us but food to them.
- Let leafy vegetables flower. Vegetables that we seldom allow to flower because we eat their leaves, like Arugula (Eruca sativa), Broccoli Raab (Brassica rapa), Bok choi (Brassica rapa) and Mizuna (or Japanese greens). Last season I couldn’t pick them fast enough so they flowered and the bees were all over them.
I’ve been letting Goldenrod and Queen Anne’s Lace grow for many years because I like their flowers. I think I’ll have to make friends with the Dandelions. Then add more of a Sedum I just found in a catalog (so far) for fall foraging.
Here are little happy bees on some plants mentioned above; the 1st three are from vacation on the other side of the planet:
4 thoughts on “Flowers For Bees”
Lovely article! The bees are really enjoying those waterlilies, I hadn’t realised they were such a popular bee plant.
Thank you. I hadn’t realized it either until I saw the commotion on the flower. I also have a photo of two little honeybees trying to pry open a water lily that had yet to bloom. I guess I tend to focus on land plants, not aqua plants.
I have stumbled across your blog. What incredible images… ! I am especially taken with the first two.
Please would you contact me if you would consider allowing me to translate them into paintings? Perhaps we could come to some arrangement?
I am a bee-mad artist from New Zealand …my current exhibition is here: http://cottlestongallery.blogspot.co.nz/2014/11/bees-very-important-to-us-all.html
Thank you for stopping by. I’ve emailed you personally but if you haven’t received it…my reply is yes. I’m honored that you would like to use the images on my blog. All I ask is just a credit when you have an opportunity.