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Rosemary Hedge=Rosemary Honey?

2152 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  suburbanrancher
I am thinking about planting a rosemary hedge near my bee yard. It would be about 40' long and 5' wide when mature, solid rosemary. I know when rosemary blooms it does so prolifically and that bees really like it. It also blooms late, when many other sources of nectar are gone.

My questions are: Is this a large enough source and am I likely to get any honey that can be discerned as rosemary? I know bees forage up to 2 miles away and wonder if this is a large enough source to temp them to stay local and concentrate on the rosemary. The surrounding area is mostly brush and woods.

Is it possible to look at honey frames and tell if the rosemary honey is different from that made earlier? Is it possible to inspect the hive and mark the frame(s) as a particular type of honey as it is being filled?
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short answer.... doubt it.
I am sure they will use the rosemary and produce honey from it but at best this will be just a hedgerow honey.
One row 40' long is not going to make a noticeable increase of honey over what’s in the local area. How many hive will have to share the 40' row. You would need at least an acre or more to harvest honey from it. And you would need to put supers on right before and take them off right after.

If won’t hurt and it will give your bee more stores, for honey for you, raising brood and winter survivability.

I don’t know anything about Rosemary Hedge, do the bee prefer this over local flowers? When does it bloom? Bee works their favorites first and can leave the other alone. This can change each year depending what's blooming at what time of the year.

Is Rosemary Hedge easy propagated from cutting? You might give all your neighbors some :)

I look for plants that bloom during the dearth.
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Rosemary is easy to grow, easy to propogate, and yes it flowers profusely.

In order for your theory to work you would need a few things...
1.) only a few hives near the hedge, maybe even just 1.
2.) not a whole lot blooming nearby. Remember, once your bees discover it they will work it until there is nothing left. But they must discover it and prefer it over nearby flowers.
3.) only 1 place for the bees to store the honey - say, an empty super ontop of otherwise totally filled boxes.

All of that having been done, the honey will still be from other flowers. Your hope is that a lot of it is from the Rosemary. But with so few bushes (I know it seems like a lot to us, but they need way more flowers than that) you won't get a very pure Rosemary honey.

Having not tried it myself I assume there will be enough rosemary nectar to be deterctable by smell if you plan it very carefully.

Rosemary grows slow and your hedge will take a few years to really grow in and profusely flower. But when it does...say goodbye to pest, hello to bees, and oh my gosh the fragrance is heaven!
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As Amanda indicated, rosemary has a lot of attributes. It is very hardy and drought tolerant once established. It starts easily from cuttings placed directly into the ground with a little rooting powder. Lots of blooms, which come on late (mine have not even set buds yet for this year, should bloom late July). A bee favorite, and very fragrant, even if you just brush against the foliage. Once the hedge is established in 4-6 years it will be solid enough to prevent anything else from growing up through it and will require no care at all unless you want to prune it to shape.

It is great with chicken, too!
When I was in school we let our chickens nibble on the rosemary bushes...we called it "preseasoning" :D
Our bees worked a lot of climbing roses. After the bloom started to fade we pulled some honey. We did not tell folks anything about fact they would have no idea the bees had access to roses. Most said...your honey tastes like roses smell. I found that quite interesting.
We had a wonderful crop of Thai Basil one year...the bees loved it! You could absolutely taste the hint of basil in the honey...though I certainly couldn't have called it "basil honey". Sounds like a wonderful hedge, and I'd go for it...but it won't be enough for you to call your honey "rosemary honey". I sell all of my honey as "wildflower" (way too much variety around here to try to call it anything else), but I tell folks what was in bloom when the honey was produced. People pick up on some interesting flavors! It's like I'd say go for it!
FYI, bees can range up to 5 miles to forage, that equals ~50,200 acres. You would need a lot of rosemary.
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