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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Fortson, GA, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default New plants for bee garden

    I am planning a new bee garden and have been doing some research as to what plants I'm going to add. So I went to the local nursery with my list and came home with alot of plants that I haven't heard of before. I was wondering if anyone out there had any experience with these plants. I picked ones that had bumblebees all over them so I figured that would be a good place to start. Here's what I ended up with.

    Salvia (hot lips)
    Salvia (Sally Fun)
    Salvia (Autum Red)
    Bee Balm (Jacob Cline)
    Gayflower
    Sedium (Autum Joy)
    Lavender (jagged)

    Let me know what you think.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Springfield, MO. USA
    Posts
    284

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    Those are all great choices! The Salvia is the bee's favorite in my yard. Be sure to watch for fading blooms and deadhead (removing spent flowers) just as soon as all the flowers fall. This will promote MANY bloom periods throughout the year. I got three bloom periods last year. I also read the Slavia makes a premium honey although I can't remember the source.

    Bee Balm is great as well. I have red, pink, and white. The red is the shortest in height and the favorite of the bees. The pink is medium height and the white is the tallest. The pink and white are equally attractive but not as much as the red. These only bloom once in my area even with deadheading. The white is almost too tall and may require staking. The white is also the first to green up in the spring but oddly enough it is the last to bloom. The red greens up last but blooms first.

    Haven't tried Gayflower yet.

    There are MANY varieties of Sedum. I found some from a friend but am unsure of the variety. It is a low growing ground cover with a sprawling habit and blooms yellow. very pretty and the bees like it OK.

    I'm unsure of the Lavender. I know the bees work it and different varieties are attractive in different areas where others are not. I just put 36 plants out this spring and so far they haven't done much. But like most plants, their first year is mainly for establishment followed by an extraordinary second year.

    Of course this is all based on MY location and your results may vary.

    Another favorite of MY area but is considered invasive (why?) is purple loosestrife. This is definately worth having in the yard as it draws bees, hummingbirds, and loads of butterflies. And it's pretty too.

    Later, John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Fortson, GA, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    Thanks for the tips John. So far I've got my bluish plants (Gayflower, Salvia (Sallyfun), and Lavender (jagged)) planted today and the bees are all over it, even while I'm planting. I'll let you know once the other redish plants go in.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Rougemont, NC, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    You and I live in similar climates--I'm in North Carolina. I have to say, I am considered the *crazy plant lady* in my neighborhood, and pretty much everything I have in my yard is for bees, birds or butterflies. Best advice--choose plants that have very different bloom times.

    My yard's best?

    anise hyssop
    borage
    phacelia tanacetafolia
    liatris
    catmint
    almond verbena
    tulip poplar
    blackberry
    cosmos- sulfur--and they reseed like CRAZY so watch out. (very long bloom times, and get 4 feet tall!) butterflies love them
    (any flowering vegetable, i.e. squash, cukes, pole/bush beans, strawberry, tomato)
    vitex agnus castus
    ANY salvia, but the dark purple ones seem to attract the most bees
    throw a handful of sweet clover seed into your yard and let some flower
    buckwheat (I do not own a farm. i threw some seed onto a bare patch and it grew)


    Jacob Kline, or any bee balm (bergamot) down here will take over, as will any of the mints, so be prepared.

    I also have many fall plants like sedum, joe pye weed, goldenrod, helianthus (non hybrid sunflower).

    I am lucky that I have 2 acres to mess around with, so I got to plant peaches, pears, apples--all dwarf and can be grown in very very little space--any of the ilex or ligustrum or privet (they love my neighbor's huge chinese privet he limbed up into a small tree, it's fabulous)--

    Something I can't do without and the girls go nuts for in the fall? Caryoptera and Hypericum shrubs. Small, about 3' tall and around...stunningly beautiful and the girls literally cover them in the fall.

    Lavender--my girls do not like it. I've got 60 plants that are awesome to walk around, but only the bumblebees like them. They also don't bother with lemon balm. But they do like rosemary and many of the flowering herbs such as thyme.

    I read somewhere that herbs like lemon balm, thyme (as in thymol), lavender are natural anti-bacterials/anti-fungals...and so I planted a bunch of these under and around my hives (I have tbh on legs). I also read that tansy, or phacelia tanacetafolia, repels wax moths. So...this is also very near to my hives.

    Something they go insane for? Sweet Yellow Clover--the biennial 6' tall, smells like fresh cut hay--the girls will fly right by anise hyssop (which is saying something) to get to it.

    Start small. One plant here and one plant there. Unless you have the disposable income or are crazy like me you can make "starts" from the plant that you purchase, for next year. Some of these plants will do you the favor of reseeding themselves so freely, you'll regret planting them (cosmos!)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    mCubed,

    I have...

    anise hyssop
    borage
    phacelia tanacetafolia
    liatris

    ...from your list planted in my garden here in Nova Scotia. It's still early to tell of the success (or lack thereof) of the tansy, liatris and anise hyssop as things haven't grown enough. I also have Vipers Bugloss (echium vulgare) as well. Borage was favored by the bees here late last summer, as it hung around until freezing weather in November. A bunch of that is growing now from reseeding. Lemon Balm didn't flower last year, but the plants are regrowing well and I hope to report better this year.

    I can see that slugs like the anise hyssop and the liatris. Any advice for that?

    I also have chives - which the bees like. I have not added a salvia yet, but with the enthusiasm for it here in this thread, I will give it a try. I've heard Russian Sage is great for bees, but haven't found it yet.

    I really enjoy the gardening aspects relating to the bees.

    Adam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Rougemont, NC, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    Adam,

    Slugs. Well, I can say I do not have that problem, not with any of my plants, for some reason. I have gone completely organic for the past 3 years, and I have encouraged insects such as preying mantic, wheelbug, soldier bug, ladybug--to flourish. It was hard the first year, with some of the plants being decimated, not to pull out some neem or something. But, as the good bugs have flourished, the bad bugs are under control (with the exception of japanese beetles, for which I invested in milky spore last year, and encourage paper wasps)

    The 'ol beer in a cap works, according to my mother, as well as salt. Nothing touches my hyssops, for some reason, other than the girls, butterflies and some bumbles. Then again, it could be because I have literally hundreds of plants to choose from for each little buggie's apetite.

    I'm shocked that echium grows in your zone--I would love to try it! Did you do that from seed? Borage is also very tasty, if you haven't tried it yet...I share with my girls I have a lemon balm plant that is 3.5' tall, that stands between each tbh, and I haven't seen a bee on it yet. But again, with the hundreds of plants I have for them, maybe it's not that attractive--perhaps when there's nothing else to forage, they go for it.

    I have 6 russian sages, and I can't keep the bees off of it...that's a great investment!! They are sooo easy to start from clippings, too. I started with one that I got from a garden center in Durham.

    I've been into horticulture for upwards of 25 years, being raised on a huge farm and now having some acreage of my own. Combining horticulture with apiculture seems to be a natural progression--and I wish that more people would take the time to understand that pretty landscaping and huge perfectly manicured lawns are devastating to the natural world.

    One more thought about the slug problem...make sure that your liatris bulbs and the hyssop are growing in full sun, with lots of air circulation. Let them dry out a little...they don't really like constant moisture. One of my hyssops, a two year old, is 5' tall and about as big around. It grows in dry, crumbly, often neglected soil that I allow to rely solely on rainfall--and in North Carolina in summer--that's very little.

    I don't know where I read it, but I recall something about bees seeing in the ultraviolet range, or are attracted to mostly blues--and I can see that in my gardens firsthand. They'll pass by tickseed (yellow) and yarrow (red or yellow) and head straight for "may knight" salvia or petrovskia russian sage or "walker's low" catmint...which are all purple/blue.

    Lea

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    Good info Lea, thanks.

    I have the borage, as I mentioned. It doesn very well here. I am growing the echium from seed. Keep in mind that the Vulgare variety is not the big ones with spires of flowers. These are the small ones. We are in zone 6 here - so less harsh than the North Eastern States in the winter. I'll look around for the russian sage. I got a salvia yesterday. We have no Japanese beetles here, but lots of slugs. They even get into the hives a lot. They cause more damage than anything here in my garden.

    I'm looking forward to the day when we can afford to buy land outside the city. I have plans for acres of flowers...

    Adam

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    Russian Sage, sedums, anise hyssop, beebalm, and catmint are all big favorites here.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,770

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    I am not sure how many of these grow in Georgia neighbor, but it is a start.
    Honey Plants for Florida
    American Holly, Ilex opeca, N-C-S, is an excellent nectar source blooming in early spring. It can be collected from woods and/or propagated by cuttings.

    American Redbud, Cercis canadensis, N-C, is a small tree that can be transplanted or propagated from seed. It blooms in the spring of the year.

    Carolina Laurelcherry, Prunus caroliniana, N-C-S is an evergreen shade tree which can be grown from seed or collected in the woods.

    Chinese Holly, Ilex cornuta, N-C, is a dark-green tree desirable for its color and berry production. It is propagated by cuttings or seed.

    Chinese Tallowtree, Sapium sebiferum, N-C-S, is a fine shade tree which can be propagated by seed or cuttings.

    Florida Holly, Ilex cumulicola, N-C-S, is a small holly, which can be propagated from the woods or by cuttings.

    Tuliptree, Liriodendron tulipfera, N-C, is a fast-growing tree that is a major nectar source from the piedmont of Georgia northward. It can be collected from woods and is generally most abundant along water courses.

    Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, N-C, is a slow-growing evergreen shade tree. It can be collected from woods for transplanting, but recovers slowly.

    Cassava, Manihot carthuginesis, N-C-S is a small seed tree, generally propagated by seed.

    Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia virginiana, N-C-S, is a similar tree to Southern Magnolia described above.

    Shrubs and Small Trees
    Glossy Abelia, Abelia grandiflora, N, is good for base plantings, hedges and borders, which can be propagated by cuttings and withstands partial shade.

    Privets and Ligustrums, Ligustrum spp., N-C-S, is another plant used in hedges and borders. It can be propagated by seed or cuttings.

    Scarlet Dombeya, Assonia, Rose-boquet, Dombeya wallichi, C-S, is a fast-growing small tree, propagated by seeding or layering.

    Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria, N-C, is a base or screen plant, propagated by seed or cuttings, but difficult to transplant.

    Sweet Aeacia, Mesquite, Popinae, Opopanax, Huisacke, Aeacia farnesiana, C-S, is a thorny, bushy shrub, generally found along the coast. It is propagated by seed.

    Common Mesquite, Prosopis chilensis, is a bushy shrub planted along Florida's east coast as a nectar source. It is propagated by seed.

    This document is Circular 686, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: May 1988. Revised: March 2003. Please visit the EDIS Website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

    http://americasbeekeeper.com/Honey_P...or_Florida.htm
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Springfield, MO. USA
    Posts
    284

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    Here's a video I shot today of the bees working the white Salvia. They work it like that, all over my yard, from dusk til' dawn. They work the 'May Night' purple Salvia like crazy as well, but only in the afternoon. It's not the best quality video, but each time a little spike shakes, a bee is moving to or from.

    http://youtu.be/W9Nu-upoYAI

    Later, John

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Re: New plants for bee garden

    Looks good, John V,

    I put in two different varieties of salvia (one dark purple and one dark pink), as well as three Russian Sages today. I've got a pretty good selection for a small garden...

    Adam

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