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  1. Post

    My husband and I are taking a beekeeping course this spring, and will have 2 hives this summer. I'm an avid gardener, with a huge garden isolated in 300 acres of woods in NH. I plant about 70 window boxes around the edge of my deck in annual flowers started under lights every year, and with our new honeybees coming, I'm wondering if I should change my planting plan.

    I haven't ordered seeds yet. Do they prefer certain colors? Certain annual? Certain flower shapes?

    Help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,763

    Post

    Bees like nectar. Lots of nectar. They don't care what color it is, or how big or little it is. They just want lots of sugar. It's difficult to plant anything that makes much difference. Early flowers are nice. Mid summer flowers are nice. Late flowers are nice. These will fill in the blank spots between the spring flow and the fall flow.

    Search this forum on "planting" and you'll find some discussions of planting for bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    Planting for bees is impractical on a small scale, some will say even on a large scale. If you want to have the bees buzzing around your deck all summer check out the PLANTING FOR BEES thread in the bee forum. There you will find many suggestions of flowers to plant.
    http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000500.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Medford Lakes,NJ,USA
    Posts
    94

    Cool

    LisaNH, try the Ohio State University Bee Garden site for some interesting and Honey Bee attracting plantings. Steve
    www.beelab.osu.edu/garden

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

    Post

    Lisa;
    Unless you just enjoy seeing the bees buzz around your flowers there is no point in altering your plan for them. The honey from your flowers would not cover your morning toast for one day.

    If you want to improve your honey pasture, see if you can get white or yellow sweet clover, or hairy vetch started along the roadsides in your area. Over a period of years you can get hundreds of acres of bee pasture that way as the seeds are spread by the birds (vetch) and wind. Honey plants vary by location, climate, etc. so it is hard to guess what grows well in your area. Strangely enough, there are some woodland trees that produce good honey, so your crop may be in your woods rather than in the pastures. Watch your bees and learn. Inquire of local beekeepers and find out just when the honeyflows come in your area, and what they are.
    Ox

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    medesto,indiana,usa
    Posts
    257

    Post

    Borage is very attractive as are most mints,sunflowers,sage,chives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    Tulip poplar are our biggest flow. Black locust hit every few years and when they do it is suppose to be massive early flow. Everyone is telling you right about annuals. There are some beautiful landscape plants that can help your bees. 2 trees that make good shade have already been mentioned. I am giving away cuttings of a bush type honey suckle that make a great addition to your yard and it is a great earl source of nector and pollen. Read more about it in planting for bees thread. BTW those cutting will be cut the next day it is not raining for those that are getting them. My spelling is bad but here are some other great plants; cottoniasters, pu ssy willow(all willows to a point), hazel nut(pollen starting to open now), and flowering pears along with all fruit trees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

    Post

    Hillbilly:
    Tulip Poplar are not native here but will grow if planted, and will sprout in flower beds. Neighbor has one that is two feet thru and 30 feet tall. Not knowing much about them I planted two in the yard, now about 6 feet tall. Black locust is common where I am and is in old windbreaks from the 30's plus some seedlings. Honey locust will grow in some places here and is a real pest. I knew locust was a nectar tree (too early most years) but did not know poplar made honey. Willow, elm and maple all produce early pollen here.

    Re: McMinnville---I ordered cherry trees and other fruit trees from a nursery there. What kind of country is it? The internet would make it seem to be all nurseries. If it makes a tulip poplar crop there must be considerable woodland.
    Ox


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    I live in the nursery capital of the world. More nurseries per square mile is the way they measure it. My dad is no longer able to do that type work and since I hurt my back I can not do it either. We are at the foot of the Cumberland Mountains. They are a finger off of the Appilatians(sp). Knoxville sits in a valley between the 2 mountain ranges. We are on the west face of the Cumberland range. My fathers farm is about 35 acres of woods and several of the neighbors have lage tracks of trees. Red maple, poplar, and sourwood are common in the woods around dads place which it has alot of wet season swamps. On my walk thru the woods yesterday I had to walk around alot of standing water and it has not rained/snowed in over a week now. BTW our maple have a few blooms open. What was our nursery is over grown flowering pears and a few things we have been collecting seeds off of for sale. The rest is grass or used for raising veggies. His farm is about 5 miles from the foot of the mountain. Nice area to live in as long as you do not like the night life or a good restaunt(nearest shopping and eating is 30 miles away unless you count Wal-Mart as shopping).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Post

    Bees reportedly prefer blue, purple, white, and yellow flowers. Many of the wildflowers seem to be visited by bees. Most of the flowers that the bees visit on our place are various herbs, mints, and flowering perennials. They also seem to like sunflowers, bachelor's buttons, and zinnias. I grow mostly vegetables, so they visit the squash, cucumbers and corn for the pollen, but last year, I let some of my onions go to flower, and the bees loved the onions and elephant garlic flowers.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    suflowers are my favorite bee annual,birds like em too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

    Post

    Hillbilly:
    Thanks for the reply. I have you placed now. I too am about 30 miles from anything that would pass for upscale eating or shopping. Tulsa is 35 miles N, Four smaller towns withing l5 miles in any direction but Wal-Mart is the top of the food chain in those.

    Hard maple does not grow here, I have seen one stunted specimen in 37 years. Box elder, silver maple, elm, ash, walnut, pecan, hickory, willow, wild cherry, sassafras, persimmon, catalpa, sycamore, redbud, black locust, red cedar,several types of oaks, honey locust----that about does it for us.

    Introduced species--pines, tulip poplar, dogwood, etc will grow but will not reproduce here. Sixty miles East Pines will thrive.

    Bad backs are bummers. Better stick to mediums or even shallows. A medium with permacomb is not going to be much lighter than a deep. Better still, get pickup or a trailer and mount a hoist on it. These little electric hoists have gotten cheap and any kind of vehicle that will put you close to your hives will carry it. A half day lifting mediums full of honey will put a world of hurt on a tired back.
    Ox



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    We have a wide variety of trees in the woods. Poplar, Oaks(5), Red maples, hickory, black gum(tupelo), persimmons, sourwood, dogwoods, wild cherry, black locust, redbuds( the nursery got them started) and Red and White Sumac are all native to our area and in our woods. Redbud normally are not found this low off the mountain. Black locust like the mountain better as well so the small patch we have may have been introduced. The over grown nursery stock adds alot of flowering trees and plants. We have about an acre of flowering pear and another of the pear root stock. The flowering pear we left standing get pollenated by the root stock type and make good bud stock(less thorny but has the good root system). Bradford pears do not produce seeds(not many anyway). These are Aristacrat pears which grow wider than Bradfords and produce seeds. We have a couple of short rows of patio peaches. They are a total dwarf type peach. The first one we planted about 15 years ago finally made it to 6 feet. Then I have plants like the Frag honeysuckle. We planted alot of lidino clover between the rows as a green manure and as a cover crop. I plan on planting more clovers and a few other hay crop legumes.
    I am going all mediums and some long hives and TBHs. TBHs you only lift a bar at a time and long hives keep you from having to lift supers to get to the brood.

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