Tag Archives: Chinese broccoli flower

Flowers for Pollinators II

Vegetables And Herbs

As I mentioned in the previous post, I left some vegetables and herbs flowering for pollinators and for seeds.  It also helps to draw beneficial insects into the vegetable patch.  The downside is that these beneficial insects don’t discriminate, they eat anything they can grab, honeybees and bumblebees included.  But we never have to spray our vegetables.

Globe or Greek basil has very strong flavor for a very small basil. I let some flower and draw a lot of bees in
Globe or Greek basil has very strong flavor for a very small basil. It’s only 6 inches tall with tiny bright leaves.  I grow many types of basil and found that they cross pollinate as well.  Last year I planted seeds I collected from the Globe basil but the basil that grew from it turned to be a short basil with small green leaves, a hint of purple and with a Thai basil taste.
Anise hyssop is everyone favorite-bees, wasps, butterfly and I.
Anise hyssop is everyone’s favorite, bees, wasps, butterflies and myself.  I like to brush against it which causes it to release an anise aroma.  The tiny flowers are also good in salads or desserts as it has a sweet nectar and anise scent.  Once the flower fades, the American Goldfinches take over for the seeds.
This is a honey bee favorite, Garlic chive. The flower is edible with strong chive flavor. Sometime I wonder if it will make honey smell and taste like chive
This is a honey bee favorite, Garlic chive or Chinese chive.  The flower is edible with a strong chive flavor. Sometimes I wonder if it will make the honey smell and taste like chive.
Any type of mints will do, they love it. Just don't forget to cut the spent flower off otherwise there will be plenty of mints in the garden. I have that problem and have to pull seedlings out.
Any type of mint will do, they love it.  Just don’t forget to cut the spent flowers off otherwise there will be plenty of mint in the garden as it spreads like crazy.  I have that problem and have to pull seedlings out.
Borage has pretty lavender and pale pink color that taste like cucumber
Borage has pretty lavender and pale pink colors and tastes like cucumber.  Flowers are good in salads and sweets.  However, it self-sows easily and can take over your garden in no time.
I love broccoli raab for it bitter taste. The wild one is very hardy
I love broccoli raab for its bitter taste.  Birds love the seedpods. The wild one is very hardy.
Chinese broccoli is one of my favorite
Chinese broccoli is one of my favorites.  It’s great in soup, stir-fry.  It’s also very hardy and self-sows.
Saffron is a type of crocus that bloom in late summer. I let the bees have the pollen before I picked three stamens off to dry.
Saffron is a type of crocus that blooms in late summer.  I let the bees have the pollen before I harvested three stamens off to dry.
I plant lavender along our walkway and stonewall where we can brush against them to create aroma in the garden. Not that many flowers that are deer and rabbit proof but this is one of them
I plant lavender along our walkway and stonewall where we can brush against them to release their perfume in the garden.  Not that many flowers are deer and rabbit proof but this is one of them

There are many more herbs and vegetables in our garden as both of us love eating fresh vegetables and drinking herbal tea.  Rubbing fresh herbs in your hands for the scent is also very refreshing.  I think the herb pollen that mixes in with the honey is also a good medicinal property.

Next will be flowers for bees from what we love to hate….weeds.

Last Resource

Ode to a Honeybee In Late Autumn

We are having a warm autumn this year.  The daytime temperature is still hovering above 50° F on most days but drops back to slightly above 30° F at night.  We had frost for a couple of days early on in the season which killed off most of the garden.  So there is not much left for the bees.

Honeybees being honeybees, they still come out looking for food when the temperature is above 50° F and to relieve themselves as well.  We had fed them in mid-October but now we still worry that their food storage may not be enough for a winter that has not yet come.  Since they spend more energy flying around instead of semi-hybernating in the hive during this time of year, they probably have gone through more of their storage than usual.  So we are putting sugar syrup out on warm days.   They know exactly where the feeder is and zoom right to it.   They still go for any flowers they find blooming at this time of year: Alyssum, Chinese broccoli, Broccoli raab and…Saffron.

Alyssum, despite being tiny and low to the ground, they weather a light frost quite well. They smell like honey too.
Alyssum, despite being tiny and low to the ground, they weather a light frost quite well. They smell like honey too.
I let some broccoli raab flower and it turned out to be a good thing.
I let some broccoli raab flower and it turned out to be a good thing.
Honeybee collecting pollen from saffron flower
Honeybee collecting pollen from saffron flower

I should have grown more saffron but I always start small with any newbies.  If it fails I haven’t wasted much.  My fellow blogger suggested that I may be able to leave them outside since they are hardy to zone 6.  I will leave one pot out as an experiment.  If they are like other crocuses that bloom in spring (which I grow in the ground) they should be fine.  Then I can have plenty of saffron for tea and cooking, and plenty of food for honeybees in late autumn.

This girl didn't even wait for the Chinese broccoli to open fully
This girl didn’t even wait for the Chinese broccoli to open fully
They also go for the water at the heated birdbath
They also go for the water at the heated birdbath

Vegetable Flowers

Edible Beauty

Summer is the time to let some vegetables flower.  Not just for the seeds I can keep to plant next year but for the honeybees as well.  Most of these flowers are edible.  The only one I’m not sure of is the lettuce since I’ve never eaten it.  I do know that lettuce becomes bitter when it gets hotter and it will ooze a milky liquid when the stem is broken.  Even when I collect the seeds, it still oozes a milky liquid so I refrain from trying it.

These flowers also draw air traffic to our vegetable garden.  It’s fun to see a variety of bees and other insects foraging from flower to flower.

Arugula
Arugula
Chinese broccoli
Chinese broccoli
Kale
Kale
Lettuce
Lettuce
Mustard green
Mustard green

There is a remarkable similarity between mustard green and pac choi blossoms.  But note the tip of each petal.

Pac choi
Pac choi
Radish
Radish

 

 

Vegetables And Their Flowers

A Closer Look At What We Eat

I love eating vegetables especially a fresh salad just picked minutes ago from our garden.  It’s not just tastier than store bought, but also makes me feel healthier physically and psychologically.  The leafy vegetables hardly have a chance to flower, but when the weather gets really hot and we’re stuck at work, then they start to ‘bolt.’  I do let some of them flower just to get seeds for next season.  That’s when the vegetables show their other beauty; not just the beautiful colors and textures of the leaves but delicate flowers in both color and design.

Arugula
Arugula

We love the the spicy and bitter taste of Arugula or Rocket (Eruca sativa).  Salad would be pretty bland without it, but that’s just my opinion.  Their beautiful pale yellowish/green flowers are edible.

Borage
Borage

Beautiful blue star of Borage (Borago officinalis) flowers are frequent by all type of bees.  They’re not just beautiful but they’re also edible; look lovely in salad.

Broccoli raab
Broccoli raab

I let some of the Broccoli raab (Brassica rapa) flowers bloom to harvest the seeds.  The bright canary yellow flowers add color to the vegetable garden and the bees love them too.

Chinese Broccoli
Chinese Broccoli

Chinese Broccoli or Chinese Kale (Brassica oleracea) is another leafy vegetable I grow.  The leaf is sweeter than other kales and is great for stir-frying or to put in noodle soups.

Garlic, with a small wanderer passing through
Garlic, with a small wanderer passing through

The garlic flower, aka ‘Scape’, has a milder taste than the garlic head.  I pick some of them when they’re small and tightly wrapped in tissue thin skin and use them in stir-fry vegetable dishes.  The photo above is a much more mature scape. These little bulbs are good for pickling or planting.  Although the garlic that grows from these little bulbs will not divide into cloves the first year.

Radish
Radish

Surprisingly the spicy Radish (Raphanus sativus) has these delicate pale pink flowers.  The flowers and seed pods are edible but, for me, it would serve no purpose to eat the seed pods since I let some of them flower to harvest the seeds.

Scallion
Scallion

Green Onion or Scallions (Allium cepa), some may call it bunching onion, is the one we eat the greens, not the bulbs.  The ones I grow have never set bulbs so I grow them from seeds that I collected the previous year.