Author Topic: Hungry Bees  (Read 2462 times)

Digeroo

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Hungry Bees
« on: January 01, 2021, 08:33:08 »
I found this pic on facebook.  Probably copyright, but I think they will forgive me for spreading it.

I leave white death nettles, they are a pain because of the roots, but early in the spring they tend to be the only flowers and are full of bees.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 08:40:29 by Digeroo »

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Hungry Bees
« on: January 01, 2021, 08:33:08 »

gray1720

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2021, 14:05:55 »
I'm trying more and more to have a wildlife-friendly garden, especially as my allotment is old-fashioned clear-dug - I've translocated celandines from the allotment as they will provide early nectar and, while they spread like billy-o, they die back early enough (and are low slung enough) that they aren't really in the way (as I've found on the lottie!). I've planted cotoneaster that I know they love in the "wild corner" too. I'm also trying to leave "weeds" in the winter, and although I don't seem to have white dead nettle I do have red. I've also got a wild geranium with tiny bubblegum-pink flowers that I'm leaving until other stuff comes on as, although it spreads like flip and takes up a lot more space than the celandine, it tends to bloom before I've much else in and flowering, and it's not that awkward to remove when it gets OTT. What I really need to do is get more early perennials in - though that garden is still very much a work in progress in terms of shifting concrete, never mind putting stuff in!

With a bit of luck I'm going to get more early flowers too - hellebores are in now, plus lots of bulbs, so hopefully the nectar will start early. And one buddhleia that I cut back in May for late blooms, when the dwarf variety I want turns up that will be cut early for early blooms.

That's the intention, anyway... Wish me and the bees luck!
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

gray1720

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2021, 15:26:13 »
Oh, and I'm also trying to put sedums, dwarf mints and thymes in my edges as (a) they're better looking and smelling than the grass that tends to sprout there and (b) hopefully they'll crowd the dandelions out a bit - I'm sure the seed eaters love them, but there is such a thing as too many dandelions and not enough other stuff!

The idea is that they'll fill the gaps and soften the hard edges by spreading out a bit and, hopefully, the dwarf mints will not be quite so rapacious as their full-size cousins. If they are.... I'll have to drink a lot of fresh mint tea, this is not a sacrifice.
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Digeroo

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2021, 21:58:24 »
One thing we do not have is a shortage of dandelions.  They are in the field next door, so no chance of stopping them.  I have not noticed the bees on them much.  But if you dig them up they tend to be surrounded by worms, so they must produce something the worms like.  I try and chop off as many dandelions from the paths as possible and feed them to my rhubarb.
I also have woundwort which the bees also like, that is like a tall red dead nettle.  Bees also seem to like dahlia.  So I want some single ones for them.  I have got a packet of the bishops children. 

Obelixx

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2021, 22:41:36 »
Not a lot of bees around at the mo to enjoy the winter flowering honeysuckle, Japanese quince, mimosa just opening or the penstemons and shasta daisies that have been flowering for weeks now.   

There is a succession of spring bulbs for them followed by a long season of assorted flowering perennials, shrubs and trees in the main garden and a patch of dahlias in the veg plot and they really did buzz with bees last summer so I'll be planting more.

We're still "taming" the main garden and left a large patch in the middle completely uncut last year.  It produced a wide range of wildflowers and attracted enough insects to give us increased activity from swifts, swallows and house martins so I shall be prioritising nectar plants when I'm sowing seeds in the coming weeks.

The RHS has a good online list of pollinator friendly plants for anyone who's interested.
Obxx - Vendée France

gray1720

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2021, 11:57:07 »
Interesting - I hadn't noticed bees in the dahlias, but short of a disaster in the loft I shouldn't be short of those!

We also have a lot round of here of a creeping plant rather like bugle, which flowers in wild profusion in the hedge bottoms, that I've lured into a flower bed (it spread from the verge, I didn't go digging it up from the wild!). I'm not actually sure what it is - it's less upright and shorter than Ajuga reptans and runners like mad, I assume it's a wild Ajuga of some sort. But that's being encouraged too - the bees love that. And, as Obelixx says, insects encourages swifts etc in - hopefully to my new swift boxes!
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

lavenderlux

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2021, 19:30:54 »
I think your creeping blue flower is 'ground ivy' not related to Ivy though.  We have quite a lot of this and the bees do like it, same family as White Dead Nettle, another of this family which bees like is Black Horehound, it has a pinkish/purple flower.  The beekeeper on our allotments had his honey analysed last Spring and there was a high percentage of 'Forget me not' in it, this is an easy flower to grow for bees, as it readily self seeds   Also popular with our bees is 'Cat's Ear', this has a flower like a Dandelion

saddad

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2021, 07:34:43 »
Any of the echiums... like blue bedder (Vipers Bugloss) and borage are very good... many self seed.

gray1720

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2021, 11:16:13 »
That's the one, lavenderlux! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glechoma_hederacea

I'm also in the throes of putting a washing-up bowl pond for more general insects - I dug in two bowls I was given yesterday, briefed SWMBO on her role in the proceedings, and this morning it's under three inches of snow... They are currently surrounded by lots of borage seedlings from the borage plants that grew in a garden I've never ever sown borage in. Given that borage is supposed to be tender, I'm mildly impressed they've made it this far.

I like the thought of viper's bugloss - any idea how it is on alkaline clay? The only place I've ever seen it was Snettisham in Norfolk, which suggests it might be OK, but East Anglian soil can vary so much...
« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 11:51:26 by gray1720 »
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

Obelixx

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2021, 12:30:42 »
 I think echium vulgare - viper's bugloss - likes well drained soil but isn't fussy about alkalinity or acidity.  It's on the RHS list for pollinators and bees do seem to love it.
Obxx - Vendée France

saddad

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2021, 14:07:09 »
It has no problem on our heavy red-clay...

gray1720

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Re: Hungry Bees
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2021, 16:18:33 »
Reading that I realise what a stupid question it is - half a dozen doors up from us, someone has huge tropical echiuims all over their garden every year. Remind me to engage my brain...

Thanks - I'll think of them for next when/if I might have a bit more space.
My garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum!

 

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