Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Monday, January 17, 2011

Now's The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees


It's never too early or too late in the gardening year to think about bees.


I'm been perusing the garden catalogs like most of you. Have you noticed that all the plants look wonderful! All of them! Even ones I know wouldn't thrive in this garden. I am plant and garden starved and that's making it hard to be a smart gardener. It's taking a bit of effort, but, I'm steering myself toward plants that are known to attract bees and other pollinators.
I almost always choose plants that are native to Middle Tennessee and the Central Basin. It makes sense to plant Middle Tennessee natives. They can take the Clay and Limestone nearly neutral clay soil that's sticky and gooey all winter and dry as concrete all summer.


You've probably noticed that I said, "I almost always choose native plants..." There's always room for a few garden friendly exotics in my garden. They are welcome here as long as they aren't invasive and they provide plenty of pollen and nectar for pollinators. Looking good is also a plus!
Monarch Butterfly caterpillars eat the leaves of Asclepias tuberosa
My favorite bees are the lovable Bumbles. They are my hardest garden workers. They start visiting the garden when the first dandelions bloom in late winter and stay until the last asters disappears in late fall. They need nectar, pollen, water, shelter from wind, rains, cold and nesting sites. Bumbles are generalists and will visit almost any nectar producing plant. Native and non-native.


Bumbles are delightful, but, they aren't the only pollinators in our gardens. You may already have noticed a diversity of pollinators busily working in your gardens during the growing season. There's bee imitators, moths, flies, beetles, butterflies, birds, bats and the tiniest little bees!
Plant for them all, you'll be rewarded with seeds; they'll pollinate your fruits and vegetable crops; and, they'll bring you joy.

Bat faced Cuphea was planted in a container
The more diverse our flower plantings, the more it can support resident pollinators. So, I am going to make sure that any plants that go on my "purchase early from catalog to get the savings" list are pollinator friendly.

xxoogail

This is the first in a series of Monday posts on native bees in the garden.



This post was written by Gail Eichelberger for my blog Clay and Limestone Copyright 2011. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

51 comments:

  1. Oh Gail, I do love the sight and sound of bees in the summer. That capture on the asclepias is outstanding. I'd not seen the bat faced cuphea before - looks like seed to order this year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOW ! Your photos are stunning!
    And the last plant,Bat faced Cuphea , is that a annual?
    I have never seen that plant before.
    Linda

    ReplyDelete
  3. They are wonderful work horses aren't they. I too look forward to seeing them arrive here. What is the flower in the third photo please.?

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are the Patron Saint of Pollinators, dear Gail! The photos are gorgeous and a welcome sight from the sea of white outside my window. I love those early bees that visited the snow crocus in the dead of winter. I often wonder how they can live when it is so cold. But if there is a flower open, they will find it!
    xxxooo
    Frances

    ReplyDelete
  5. Darla, That's False Dragonhead~or Physostegia virginiana...It a wonderful plant and quite the colonizer~gail

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a relief to see some bees today. I planted the asclepius for the monarchs and next year I promise to protect them. More flowers equals more bees. I will heed your always wise advice.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love those big beautiful shots Gail. You can really see the bees even their knees. You know I'm in agreement with you. Plant for the pollinators so that we'll always have activity in the garden, the world at play.~~Dee

    ReplyDelete
  8. I too love the bumble bees. These are great shots of them. The bumblebees are the friendliest bee. Many have been in my dog's mouth, and when I told him to spit them out, out they come flying like nothing dire had happened. Such a peaceful little critter. I am glad you are planting for them.

    The bees absolutely love Caryopteris Dark Knight if you will have a non native. But it will seed itself if that is a problem for you. I raise all the voluneers and plant them in client's yards for free, I like this plant that much.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your bee photos are so incredible, I just love them. I've been thinking more about pollinators too when it comes time to order plants. I think the bumbles might be my favorites too, although I do really like those little metallic green bees.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am dreaming of bees, too, and warmer temperatures! It's been so cold here that nothing is stirring yet. But your photos have warmed me :) Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  11. We have bumblebees in the garden - and we used to see wild honeybees - but no longer. My husband has more discriminating eyes than I do - and we used to be beekeepers (before serious allergy) so we are always on the lookout. If I had no other reason for being an organic gardener, saving the bees would be sufficient.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can't wait to see them fly into the garden from plant to plant! Great pictures! Most of our plantings are very pollinator friendly too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really enjoyed your post about bees. I too look for plants that will attract pollinators or for my honey bees since I keep a bee hive.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am so excited to see you are posting abut bees..I learned more about them from a new garden friend and beekeeper in the area...I love the pollinators in my garden because they bring so much to me especially all the new seedlings scattered among the garden...can't wait to read more :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like it when a plant catalogue tells you which are the bee friendly plants. Bat Faced Cuphea looks very attractive...and an unusual name...the kind you remember!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Gail, your photos are wonderful! I hope they return soon :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh Gail! Your photos are so beautiful!! How lovely to see the colors and life of bees, while it is so frigid here in the white landscape. I hope my wild honeybees are sleeping safe and soundly in the old Rock Maple next to the farmhouse. I look forward to your next post. ;>)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Bumble bees are also my favorite workers in my garden too. I suppose it's easiest to think of them since they're so easily recognizable even to the most unobservant gardener. We're quite a long way from thinking of the return of bees to the gardens way up here in the frozen north, but they sure will be a welcome sight when they do come back.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What are your favorite "bee-attracting" plants? I noticed you plant Mondara. We are moving to a NC farm in March and I plan on planting natives. We have the same/similar clay soil that you have. Could you suggest you top plants for attracting bees.

    I had thought of Monarda, coneflowers, asters, golden rod, coreopsis, hollyhocks, sunflowers, black-eyed susans, indigo, phlox, yarrow, lavendar, cosmos, joe pye weed, buddleia, babies breath, mint, butterfly weed, echinacea, obedient plant...any others?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous~Now that's a great list! Plant as many different kinds of the milkweeds so that you can attract Monarch caterpillars~You may be on the Monarch trail. Plant native trees and shrubs~like spicebush, viburnums and cercis~They are host pants, too. Go here for a list from the Xercis Society http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center/

    gail

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yesterday I found the Asclepias seed, that started as a bit of an arrangement at our flower club. Going to plant that, we would have African monarchs. I just need to play my part.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Walking along a wooded edge this weekend I saw my first spider of the year. Amazing to see one walking along the snow. I wonder what kind it was. It looked like a wolf spider but it was very pale. Of course I would be pale too if I was outside without a coat etc. Seeing all of this color and the insects makes me long for spring.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Gorgeous photos, Gail, as always. It's time to start thinking about the garden again -- I just realized that here in NS, we're gaining more than 2 mins of daylight each day now. The slant of the late afternoon sun is once again coming through the bedroom window. Can spring be far behind? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Before I lived here I never paid much attention to the native bees, but the last few years here you can't help but notice them! I'm with you, mostly natives. Although I did just plant about 20 trailing rosemary plants at the top of a slope this morning to provide some early blooms while the bees are out on a warm January afternoon. Looking forward to your next posts...and gorgeous sweat bee photo too!

    ReplyDelete
  25. You've managed to get some wonderful photos of bees. I've had no luck in that regard. We have a herd(?) of, I think, bumble bees living under our shed and am hoping they will continue to grace our yard next spring.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love that cuphea! Like you I'm looking for pollinator-friendly natives for a border I'm trying to add to this year.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Gail - The photos of your bees and your beautiful plants are lovely. They are a welcome sight on a gray winter's day. I love to plant for pollinators, too, and it's a good reminder that our gardening acts have widespread ripple effects!

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a perfectly timely post! I'm right there with you - dragging my eyes away from the plants in the catalogs I've never noticed being visited and am finding all sorts of new ones to try. Hooray for the pollinators!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh, what a beautiful sight on this gray and rainy winter's day! I hadn't realized how much I had missed the sight and sounds of the bees until now. I agree, as I look through the catalogs--I want one of every plant! But I'm looking, too, for plants that will do well here and bee and butterfly-friendly ones. These are amazing photos, Gail--thanks for the day brightener!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I admire your restraint Gail ~ it's so difficult this time of year (and for the next month or so). Anything with a bloom looks appealing, that's for sure.
    Your photos are just superb. You and the camera are working as one!
    I am trying to plant for the pollinators ~ I get distracted tho and am not as disciplined as you. If only you lived next door...

    ReplyDelete
  31. I wanted to let you know your post was
    so beautiful that it is featured on
    WebGarden today. Our readers enjoy
    getting ideas and inspiration. I hope
    many will follow your blog after visiting.
    Thanks for sharing your gardening talents!
    ~Brooke (CreativeCountryMom)
    http://creativecountrymom.blogspot.com/
    Here is the link to see your post....
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/WebGarden/261885457648?ref=ts

    ReplyDelete
  32. I guess I attract bees along with the hummingbirds and butterflies. I do love seeing those pollen laden legs working a flower.
    There is a bee-keeper's course that I thought about taking, but think I will wait and see a full year's garden before I do anything. Also not sure about HOA rules for keeping a hive....probably not.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your posts about bees have made me so much more appreciative and observant of them in my own garden. I've taken a few sleeping bumble pictures and even managed to pet one!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Gail, A terrific post. I too believe we really should be thinking about our beloved pollinators. I dug out a Salvia verticillata that was a bee magnet and now I'm regretting it. I might need to buy it again and put it in a different place which is what I should have done in the first place. Plants that bees love should be a priority. I look forward to your future posts.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks Gail. I posted that sassy Titmouse yesterday...when time allows drop by and see..

    ReplyDelete
  36. Gail,
    Thanks for visiting today! You probably get close to 20 different warblers in your trees, most are neck breakers. If you have pines nearby and put out suet, Pine Warblers will visit, usually one, never seen more than one at the feeders.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Good idea, Gail. Mondays for native bees. There are many varieties and I don't know much about them. So, you may educate me! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love watching the bumbles working in the garden. Butterflies too. They rejoice in the heat that melts people.

    The NC Botanical Gardens offers seeds for a couple of plants that attract a really wide variety of pollinators -- I'll have to look those up.

    I enjoyed seeing your exquisite photos.

    ReplyDelete
  39. How about a plug (pun intended) for the two best online native nurseries: Prairie Moon and Prairie Nursery? I have a billion asters, but I need more asters. And I'll try dividing eupatorium, and starting seeds from wild senna, all incredible, INCREDIBLE bee magnets. As you likely know.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I planted some native plants in my garden a couple years ago, and the bees love them.
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
  41. Loved the post :-) If you need a spot for a large annual bee magnet, African Blue Basil is wonderful. I am always amazed at the number of bees on this one plant!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Amen to that Gail! Our pollinating friends need all the support they can get from us. Love the photos.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I 'Bee' with you on this bee-utiful post , dear Gail.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Delightful photographs and your writing made me chuckle. I am trying very hard to rein myself in on the whole "oh that's beautiful I really must grow it" thing, and haven't - yet - ordered anything, but even with the proviso that it must be attractive to wildlife in some way (which I find a useful limiting function) I still want WAY too much. Even with the allotment. I think I have planted the cutting garden borders on the allotment at least twice over in my mind's eye, and that's with me conveniently forgetting its precise dimensions...

    ReplyDelete
  45. Gail,

    Thanks for the tips. I absolutely loved the post about the clover. I have a huge grassy area in front of our home I was going to attempt to turn into a wildflower garden. The post on replacing plants with clover, etc. was perfect for me. We are going to be raising alpacas, so our home will be surrounded pastures. I wanted to put clover in the pastures to add nitrogen to the pasture grass; but, unfortunately alpacas cannot eat too much clover as it causes them to foam at the mouth and their diet is not supposed to be too high in nitrogen. So, using it in my (in my imagination so far) front wildflower garden will be my outlet...

    Patricia

    ReplyDelete
  46. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of
    plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of completely
    unique content I've either written myself or outsourced but it seems a
    lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my
    permission. Do you know any techniques to help protect against content from being stolen?

    I'd certainly appreciate it.

    my blog post ... financialhqmedia.net ()

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks for finally talking about > "Now's The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees" < Liked it!

    Here is my web blog ... how to invest
    In silver

    ReplyDelete
  48. Please let me know if you're looking for a writer for
    your blog. You have some really great articles and I feel I
    would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of
    the load off, I'd really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back
    to mine.Please blast me an e-mail if interested.Kudos!

    Feel free to visit my web site where do you buy garcinia cambogia

    ReplyDelete
  49. Get Coach Outlet Online "We'll have to see as the years go on whether or not this does what we're interested in, but right now our goal could be to have more kids playing within the high school level by using a higher ability and involvement with playing in high school," MPЅ athletic director Bill
    Molbeck said.Can decide on a variety of shaеs and colors which աill make it less
    сomplicateԀ to choοsе fгom in line with the woman іn yyour ߋwn life'ѕ personality.
    Coach Grove City Outlets

    ReplyDelete
  50. Since the admin of this web site is working, no hesitation very quickly it will be renowned, due
    to its feature contents.

    my page :: best silver inhvesting ()

    ReplyDelete

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails