Tag Archives: Daucus carota

Flowers For Bees

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:

White water lily
Plenty of bees on white waterlily
Purple water lily
The coming and going of the bees on this purple waterlily was non-stop
Pink Lotus
This pink Lotus attracted more than honey bees
Bee on Queen Anne's Lace
A honey bee on Queen Anne’s Lace
On Broccoli Raab flower
On Broccoli Raab flower
Bee on White Clover
On White Clover
Bee on Goldenrod
On Goldenrod

Flowers For Bees – A Great Trade

Making Their Lives Easier

I know bees fly for many miles to collect nectar and pollen, but since they’ve entered our lives now, I’m hoping that I provide enough flowering plants for them to be happy closer to home.  I wouldn’t insist they just forage in our garden but at least I can encourage them to do so by providing them with flowers they like.  I’m not sure the bees are that particular, but I am providing them with wholly organic flowers to work.

Fragrant flowers make up most of our garden.  The runners-up are wild and native flowers.  Since I started to keep bees, I have been searching for plants that will provide nectar and pollen for them.  Surprisingly, a lot of plants and flowers we have in our garden already are suitable for bees.  I should have known since we have a lot of Bumblebees, Carpenter bees, Sweat bees and other insects that thrive on nectar.

One of the blogs I’ve been following has posted Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) and provided a list of plants for bees from The Royal Horticultural Society which I find very helpful.  I can’t place all plants on their list from across the pond in our garden but I’m going to do my best to add more.  Another blogger and beekeeper on the other side of the Atlantic has also posted What’s flowering now: mid August 2012 regarding flowers for bees in late summer.  In response to the last line on her blog, here’s what’s still blooming in the garden on this side of the Atlantic, despite the heat, thunder storms and hail.  Our bees still have plenty to put in storage for the winter.

Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota). It’s a beautiful weed. I let it grow every year for its beauty and for foragers.
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) ‘Vanilla Spice’. This is a great summer flower, highly fragrant and a butterfly and bee magnet.
Another Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) ‘Ruby Spice’.
Hanging on to a White Clover, another weed.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet?
This bee seemed to agree with Shakespeare since she has been working on this William Shakespeare rose for a while. Highly fragrant and a re-bloomer.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii), another butterfly and bee magnet. Highly fragrant, fast grower and very invasive if you let it set seed. But, it’s worth growing if you want to have butterflies in your garden.
Echinacea ‘White Swan’, one of many Echinacea in the garden. Not exactly in focus but I didn’t want to miss a chance to capture their co-existance by stopping to set a shutter speed.