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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Getting bees to your garden - some observations

    In my second season with my own bees and having tried to plant flowers attractive to the bees, I have noticed a couple of things:

    First, bees don't tend to be very attracted to small numbers of flowers. There may be a bee or two here and there, but it is hard to gauge the quality of the flower unless you have sufficient number of them. The number of bees tend to coincide with the number of flowers. So one plant will generally not get a crazy number of bees. (I had a single chive, for instance - and it seemed like one single bee was there every day, and that would take all the plant had to offer). So if you want a lot of bees, you have to have a lot of desirable flowers.

    Unless...

    The flower blooms in early spring or late fall. In these times, flowers are less common, and the bees will pay greater attention to the ones that are available.

    For instance, I have a few crocuses around, but the bees definitely pay attention to each and every one. Last summer, I planted borage in the garden, and the honeybees paid little attention to it during most of the season, as there weren't that many of them. However, it's flowers lasted into November, and late in the year, the bees were all over it.

    So if you want flowers to get the bee's attention, it's got to be early, late, or plentiful enough to make it worth their while during the main season.

    This year, I'm trying some new flowers, and in each case, I plan to grow a good number in order to get a more accurate read of the attractiveness to the bees. If there are too few, more available plants will get their focus.

    Those are some of my perspectives, have yours been similar?

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    449

    Default Re: Getting bees to your garden - some observations

    I wonder what the magic number of flowers would be? I am planning on planting a 50 foot row of borage for the bees and probally the same about of hyssop. If all goes well I hope to have something to feed the gals when our summer heat kicks in and there is no rain other than the sprinklers for the garden.
    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Outagamie County, Wisconsin USA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Getting bees to your garden - some observations

    I am paying attention to what neighbors have planted in the neighborhood as we live on the edge of the city limits. It's good to see all the spring bulbs, flowering bushes and crab apple trees for Spring. There is an orchard less than 3 miles away also. Lots of people have Sedum planted which is great for Fall. Can't wait for our Joe Pye Weed and Anise Hyssop to bloom for the first time this summer.

    We are having a late Spring this year. Everything seems to be behind.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Re: Getting bees to your garden - some observations

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaseemtp View Post
    ...a 50 foot row of borage for the bees and probally the same about of hyssop...
    I'm sure that will get some attention. I had about a 3'x3' patch of borage plants. Maybe 8 plants. Plant your borage close together, and consider staking it or creating an enclosure for it to grow within - it tends to fall all over the place if it has too much room. And it'll break in the wind.

    Adam

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