Saturday, June 29, 2013

June, July, August - Pollen and Nectar Plants for Honeybees, Pacific Northwest and my Apiary garden.

Working on plants to encourage and feed honeybees for the apiary garden.  Some parts of year are covered - in Spring, Acer (maple)  flowers are plentiful, other spring-blooming trees, shrubs and flowers.

For early Spring, we've planted a hedge of pussy willow.  That may be too early to benefit honeybees, due to cold.  But it needed, it's there.

Following Acer, are fruit trees and Buckeye.  Then there is a dearth of pollen and nectar.

From list of "Main Honey Plants in Pacific Northwest" for June, July, August:


Thistle - Noxious weed.  There are some around, but I wouldn't plant more.

Cascara - had to look these up.  I think there is one large cascara shrub on the Battleground property, but only one.  There are semi-wild areas, may be some there.

White Clover. via

White Clover = pollen and nectar.  In bloom now.  I've planted quite a lot of white clover seeds.  It is in bloom now.

Snowberry = haven't seen much around the area.

Red Clover.  via

Red Clover - pollen and nectar.  There is some of this blooming.

Wildflowers - Ning's wildflower meadow is looking nice, in bloom.  Still a lot of grass.  No sure how to remove the grass.

Fireweed.  via

Fireweed - no pollen, variable nectar

White Clover - pollen and nectar

Blackberry flower.  via

Blackberry - Considered a noxious weed but so ubiquitous, might as well be native.  Plentiful on our property as well as in the area.  I might remove some this fall and winter, and replace with raspberries which are also good honeybee forage and not as invasive.  I have lots of raspberry plants, I can move here.

Red Clover- There are some blooming now.  Also crimson clover, I planted last winter and spring.  I don't see bees foraging on either, at this time.

Fireweed - no pollen, variable nectar - not sure why this is listed.  I've seem some blooming around the area.
Red Clover - pollen and nectar
Mint flower.  via
 Mint - pollen and nectar

Mint - pollen and nectar
Sage - pollen and nectar - we have some sage that just finished blooming.  Interesting.

Also from wikipedia., list of plants listed as bee friendly, I've added-
Clovers - last fall winter and spring, I sowed white clover, red clover, crimson clover, and blue clover seeds.  It looks like white clover took nicely, growing throughout the lawn, especially compacted and poorly fertile areas.  Some of the crimson clover is blooming now as well.  I also included clovers in Ning's wildflower meadow mix.
Ceanothus - these shrubs will require a few years, before they make significant bee forage.  They are quite beautiful, and contribute nicely to the landscape.
Buddleia - B. davidii is a noxious weed.  There are other, acceptable, cultivars which are see-sterile, so not invasive.  They are patented, so it takes some investment.  I added about a dozen plants.  They are growing rapidly.  Some varieties - "Miss Molly" and "Miss Ruby" are among the few plants blooming now.  .Most of the plants are small this year, but have put on about 18 in since planting in winter and spring.  I think next year they'll have enough flowers to add significantly to the bee forage.  I can't find info about whether Buddleia is, or can be, significant for bee forage.  Some gardeners who want to encourage butterflies, love these plants.  Others hate them because they are invasive and non-native.  I'm sticking with the noninvasive ones.  I haven't seen many bees on the flowers yet.  This is one of the few plants that is blooming significantly, now.
Thyme - Planted among irises.  not enough to be significant, but bees covered the flowers last month.
Lavender - This week I bought a blooming-sized 1/2-gallon "Goodwin Creek Gray"  As soon as I sat the plant down, bees were on the flowers.  Only a few are open.  I can see lavender being a significant forage plant, if I can add enough plants.
Caryopteris X clantondenis via

Bluebeard - Caryopteris "Blue Mist" - bought a 1/2-gallon in bud this  week.  It's hot and dry outside, but this is a dry-tolerant plant.  I think it will be OK.  I watered thoroughly and mulched with a deep layer of grass straw.
Pussy willow - Ning planted a hedge of truncheon cuttings in March, and all of them took.  Won't be much bee forage next spring, but there is potential for the following winter.
Garlic Chives, Chives - Not enough to contribute significantly, but the flowers are always covered with bees.
Rosemary - small amount.
Basswood - doubt there will be enough to contribute to bee forage, for several years.  Have to start somewhere.
Plum - as these trees mature, they will contribute.  Will take a while.
Sumac - just a seedling.
Apple - Pear - As for the other trees.
Mint - We have some areas where it's OK for mint and lemon balm to be invasive.
Lemon Balm - ditto.  I moved about a dozen plants from the Vancouver place.  I'm thinking the orchard will have mint and lemon balm tree surrounds.  And Oregano
Blueberry - There is one large shrub.  We added 5 new small ones.
Borage, via

Borage - started some seeds late this spring.  One packet.  Only a few seeds germinated, and rabbits or deer ate some of the leaves.  Still, looks like it's going to take.  This was an experiment.  These would be nice to include in a border or wildflower meadow.  It's hard to find borage plants at the nursery, or borage seeds, but apparently once they bloom, they scatter seeds and volunteers come up all around.

Others we have in multitude

Dandelion - a major bee forage plant.
Henbit - blooms early spring.
Cherries - big cherry trees, and new small ones.
Maple - Majestic trees in the area.
Wild Carrot - these should start blooming in August.
Buckeye - one mature tree.  It was covered with flowers - should make for a lot of forage in the space of one tree.
California Poppy - mostly from seeds I planted.

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