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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
I am in the very beginning stages of my (hopefully long) beekeeping journey. My wife and I own approx 20 acres in Burnet County, TX. We started with our first nuc in May and so far we're loving all the learning taking place. We hope to add an additional 2-3 hives per year until we reach the threshold for Ag exemption (in Burnet county they've told us that equals about 10-12 hives.)

We've been working the land for approx 6 months. This has mainly consisted of fence building, planting a few Oak seedlings that were given to me and clearing about 90% of the prickly pear to make the land livable.

I've been trying to leave alone any native plants that the bees may like. I have 4 adolescent Mesquites, some sort of native plum or persimmon (not sure) and a few wild flowers. There's currently cattle on the land that the previous owner leases back from us to maintain the Ag exemption.

My question is this: what sort of native, drought tolerant, cold hardy plants should I be looking to plant to help the bees out? I've been searching for which wildflowers I might seed (Indian blanket, horsemint, bluebonnets, vetch, clover, chicory, etc...) and thinking about a few desert willow, texas sage, bottlebrush, etc. Does this sound adequate?

I eventually would like to have a large majority of what 10-12 hives will need on my property. I realize I can't have it all but would like to do most of it.

Within a year or two we plan to have a house built out there and be able to irrigate several fruit trees and a garden but for now I would love to get a few plants going.

Thanks for any help/suggestions. Love the forum!!
 

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You aren't far from me. I'm "just down the road" in Florence. Your list of wildflowers sounds perfect. On our property, the bees are currently enjoying the Indian Blankets, a little wild vine with pink flowers, and salvia gregii (sp?). They also really like vitex and lavender, of course. I have several Texas sage and when it blooms, I can hear the bees through the windows. We have a wild vine called Ivy Treebine that provides lots of nectar during the hot summer months when not much else is blooming. White and pink mist bush plants are a favorite during the fall. I'm hoping my kidneywood will bloom this summer. Not sure about the bottlebrush. The native persimmon are a favorite in early spring. Don't clear all the prickly pear, though: the flowers provide lots of pollen and nectar.

Here's a website with a list of good plants for bees in Central Texas: http://www.klru.org/ctg/resource/attracting-bees-to-your-yard-and-garden/

I've been working on the plants in our bee yard for a couple of years and it's doing well with the nice rain we've had this spring and early summer.
 

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Hubam clover, white and yellow sweet clover, white dutch clover, chicory, birdsfoot trefoil, purple prairie clover, alfalfa... those should all do well in Texas I think... a mixture would allow you to find out what thrives and what doesn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You aren't far from me. I'm "just down the road" in Florence. Your list of wildflowers sounds perfect. On our property, the bees are currently enjoying the Indian Blankets, a little wild vine with pink flowers, and salvia gregii (sp?). They also really like vitex and lavender, of course. I have several Texas sage and when it blooms, I can hear the bees through the windows. We have a wild vine called Ivy Treebine that provides lots of nectar during the hot summer months when not much else is blooming. White and pink mist bush plants are a favorite during the fall. I'm hoping my kidneywood will bloom this summer. Not sure about the bottlebrush. The native persimmon are a favorite in early spring. Don't clear all the prickly pear, though: the flowers provide lots of pollen and nectar.

Here's a website with a list of good plants for bees in Central Texas: http://www.klru.org/ctg/resource/attracting-bees-to-your-yard-and-garden/

I've been working on the plants in our bee yard for a couple of years and it's doing well with the nice rain we've had this spring and early summer.
Thanks for the info. It's nice to hear from someone 10 miles away. I. Right near Briggs. Also thanks for the link to the KLRU site. That'll be really helpful.
 

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You might try some Russian Sage. It blooms early summer through late fall. Also bees like cactus blooms in my area. The only problem with cactus blooms besides the cactus is that the blooms don't last very long.
 

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You might want to research New Zealand clover. Drought resistant, spreads by seed and runners. Low growing, annual flowers with a long season, especially if you can mow once or twice.
 
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