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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    14

    Default lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    Suppose you're in this situation:

    You had a bad lawn. Perhaps the developers removed your good soil. You fixed your lawn, and also added some nematodes and milky spore. Now its all healthy grass.. You won't have to kill weeds ever again. The only upkeep will be to mow high and add lime, fertilizer, occasional micro-nutrients, and possibly fine charcoal.

    You're going to add flowers, such as clover.

    Goals
    1. Maintain lawn functions, such as abrasion and erosion control.
    2. provide a balanced diet
    3. provide nectar flows that are fairly even throughout the season (flowers that bloom at different times)

    Questions
    1. What time of year to plant?
    2. Which flowers?
    3. quantity and ratio? This could be a ratio of different seeds by mass.

    Tell us the brand and quality of any seed you bought.

    Eastern Ma pollen/nectar: http://www.essexcountybeekeepers.org...s/nectar.shtml

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    Background on the plants in my area:
    1. Our soil is acidic. Granite is common.
    2. common trees near my house
    - red maple (most common)
    - other maples
    - oak
    - a few pine
    - a few poplar
    - hemlock
    - We have 3 birch, 2 apple, and 1 plum
    3. shrubs
    - Rhododendron (most common)
    - azalea and other shrubs that look like rhododendrons
    - evergreens
    - lilac
    4. some foods we grow (in order of what seams easiest)
    - 1 rhubarb plant: grows the fastest, easy to divide
    - red raspberries (bulk of the garden): we have 2 types with different bloom times
    - strawberries: huge portion of garden
    - black raspberries: not a lot right now
    - Mustard grows like a weed, but we don't eat a lot of it.
    - potatoes
    - broccoli, tomatoes, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, lettuces, kale
    - leeks, garlic, water melon, chives
    I eat flax, but never grew it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,875

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    Much depends upon what forage is already available to your bees - As you may think you know best and may plant all sorts of things that honey bees are known to love only to have them go elsewhere and feed on other things. My suggestion is to plant for pollinators in general.

    Things I would plant: Yellow sweet clover, common milkweed, joe pye weed, shad, american linden, flowering crab apple - herbs such as Thyme and Cat Mint - and very low plants like heather.

    I get my seed mostly from Fedco and Johnny's. Check with your cooperative extension about bee friendly plants that do well in your area. I grew up in Middlesex County but that was a long time ago now. Our Maine Cooperative Extension just included some suggestions for bee friendly plants in their most recent newsletter. PM me your e-mail and I'll forward the article on to you.

    In general expect to plant mostly perennials - and don't be afraid to take advantage of (not plant) any nearby invasives like Purple Loosestrife.

    Best of luck!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Rowley, MA
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    I am near you in rowley , I have planted lots of lavender Russian sage, and catmint. Lawn has lots of birds foot trefoil and aslike clover. All of the pollinators seem to love them including the bees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,138

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    >1. What time of year to plant?

    Most anytime will do for most any kind of clover.

    > 2. Which flowers?

    White Dutch clover and birdsfoot trefoil do well even when mowed and are perennials so even if they don't go to seed they will come back. The white and yellow sweet clover will flower somewhat even when mowed, but won't come back unless you let it go to seed. They are biennial so you need to plant some for two years to get some bloom every year. The yellow will bloom first and the white second. Planting both will give you a month more bloom. Hubam is an annual sweet clover and will bloom every year, but is also an annual so it has to go to seed to come back.

    >3. quantity and ratio? This could be a ratio of different seeds by mass.

    Some of this depends on what you want for density of clover compared to density of grass although eventually it will find it's own balance. You could spread it pretty thin if you want more grass than clover. Heavier if you want more clover than grass...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    Thanks yall. I forgot to mention my max mower height (3.25"). I'll also look into bulbs, such as snowdrops.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Cumberland, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    If you want to mow it and make it look like a lawn, your options get severely reduced. The only thing that I know of that tolerates a 3.25" mowing regularly is clover, and even still gets scraggly in the summer. As a side note, i've been researching golden winged warbler habitats, and they share alot of similarities to pollinator habitats. Might want to look there for more information.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    South Hamilton, MA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    I will start with short plants. I might grow it out on the sides later on. Mowing controls a strong invasive weed (goutweed I believe). We have horrible soil. The developers probably sold the good stuff. We compost everything we can. I would also like to make biochar next year.

    Aside from soil helpers, such as nitrogen fixing clover, I should probably focus on early (when there's snow on the ground) and late blooming flowers. Many plants tolerate high mowing.

    so far

    snowdrops for sure
    yellow crocus: I don't know for sure if bees use it.

    I'll look up a clover/legume blend.
    white dutch clover
    probably birdsfoot trefoil

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Haven, CT
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: lawn flower mix (Northeastern USA)

    I think that you may have the most success with 'Dutch' clover for a lawn amendment. If dandelions don't bother your sensibilities, they can be encouraged by not mowing during the few weeks they bloom and blow.

    I think that you could encourage bee brood raising early in the spring with crocus. The earliest blooming crocus are often termed 'snow crocus'. I think that the bright yellow ones are very encouraging to all of us who see them breaking through the last snows. Another very early crocus that naturalizes (grows, self-seeds, and spreads in lawns is named Crocus tommasinus ("tommies"). You can probably find bulk purchases (hundreds of bulbs) by looking on Amazon or ebay for quantities. Finally, Scilla siberica (bright blue, early flowers) is another flower that bees visit to get early (blue) pollen. Also available by the hundreds if you look on line. If you have swampy areas nearby, skunk cabbage is one of the earliest-blooming plants out there.

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