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Winter and Spring plants for honeybees

 
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:45 am    Post subject: Winter and Spring plants for honeybees Reply with quote

Please only name plants (or post a photo of plants) that you have actually seen to be good nectar or pollen plants for honeybees.

This week in our garden I have seen the bees on Crocus, snowdrops, Rosemary (it is the prostrate/creeping one) and gorse. The gorse bush was covered in bees. 600 metres away my brother-in law has a winter flowering Heather patch and there were a couple of bees there. Up to last week the bees were on the Mahonia.

Kim


Last edited by B kind on Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:04 pm; edited 2 times in total
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Gorse


Yellow crocus


Purple crocus


Rosemary


Poor photo but shows the white pollen from rosemary.


Snow drop can just see orange pollen.


|Mahonia
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This morning it was windy and showery with sunny intervals and there were lots of bees on the crocus. I was surprised to hear buzzing (I would really call it humming) at the viburnum tinus. It is "tough as old boots" growing in dry shade and although it always looks well I have never given it much affection before, (it is a plant that thrives on neglect!). I saw many honey bees foraging, It looked like a grey-white pollen.

Kim
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


The bees seem to have lost interest in the snowdrops here and are much more keen on the first flowers of the Kojo-no-mai cherry.


They've kept coming back to this Hellebore for the last couple of weeks. I recently sowed a lot of another variety so hopefully it will be as popular.




And the Viburnum Tinus gets a little traffic, but less.
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No bees on my Viburnum tinus today but on the Thuja plicata (Western red cedar) next to it in such profusion I could hear them 10 metres away and had to investigate. This year the Thuja has produced the many tiny male cones at the tips of the small shoots. It is hard to see what the bees are going for, pollen or propolys, something reddy-brown. A ladder and camera will be useful next sunny day.
A
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No bees on my Viburnum tinus today but on the Thuja plicata (Western red cedar) next to it in such profusion I could hear them 10 metres away and had to investigate.

That is interesting!

I have been looking out for bees on our hellebores all winter and finally this morning I saw one plant being worked (I don't have a big clump of hellebores, yet, just plants scattered about). The viburnum tinus has been quiet since I last posted, The crocus and rosemary continue to be popular. The apricot is now in bloom and feels like a true herald of spring. Such a delicate scent and it is covered in honeybees and a couple of bumbles. It grows in the polytunnel.



Apricot

Kim
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bee on Thuja



Sorry about the huge size I am working on it... resizing in photobucket does not seem to work....
A
Oh yes it does if you leave it and check later!
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy, When the photo was big I thought I could see pollen on the bee?

The first catkins are open on willow and the bees are loving it. The apricot, crocus, rosemary and hellebores continue. Peach and nectarine in the tunnels are in bloom and busy with bees too.

Kim
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

we have a small pussy willow by our pond and the bees nearly stripped all the pollen from it just yesterday.

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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tree lurcerne/Tagasaste, Chamaecytisus palmensis is well respected here as a late Winter/early Spring flowering evergreen tree for bee feed before the main flows come on.
It is fast growing (1-2m in the first year from planting) and can reach 10m in height, so you need a bit of room.
It can be coppiced for stock food and makes wonderful firewood that burns hot from mature trees.
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The willows are very popular right now and the Rosemary continues to be constantly busy. Nothing else has been significant.

Kim
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday morning at 7am the bees were on the Gooseberry, and all day long! They could be heard several feet away, although the bumbles were contributing to the humming a lot too. The gooseberries came in a few days ago.

Yesterday was the first day we saw bees on the forget-me-nots that self seed abundantly in the vegetable garden, also the first day to see bees on the dandelions, everyday there are more open but they had been noticeably quiet. Temperatures still around 10-12C during the day here, the odd day has been warmer.

The wild pear is in full blossom, 30 foot tall and covered in flowers, honey bees and bumble bees, They were only planted about 12 years ago. (Our place was in conventional agriculture before we made home here 16 years ago). I was really pleased to see honey bees on the Osmanthus Delavayi. I really like this plant, the flowers have wonderful scent. Also pleased to see the bees on the kales which I have left to flower.

Of course the rosemary is STILL going strong!


Kim
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Gooseberries are finished now but this was 2 weeks ago.


This was the Osmanthus 2 weeks ago. (as mentioned in previous post).

The following photos were all taken April 21st.


The currants are in, Red, black and white.


Pear
There always seems to be a few of bees on the crab apples and pears.


Forget-me-nots are still attracting bees.


Pittosporum silver queen has surprised me. Lots of bees all day long.


This photo shows the flowers better, they are very little but scented.


Plums, damsons and gages have finished and although I looked I only ever saw bumble bees on them, This photo is blackthorn, the hedges are white but I have seen relatively few bees on them.

The Rosemary is still COVERED in bees. One day as I was watching it there was a bee foraging with orange pollen, I guess she was stopping for a drink on the way home? It occurred to me that simply seeing one bee on a plant with pollen sacs of a particular colour does not mean that the pollen came from that plant.

Dandelions have started!

Kim
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have had a very sunny week, there is now so much in bloom and I am so busy planting that I am finding it hard to keep up, but here are a few that couldn't be missed.

The pittosporum has continued, I am glad it wasn't just a one day wonder.

The forget-me-nots have been fantastic, they have been really humming.


The kale has picked up and is now busy and the purple sprouting broccoli is just starting to flower.



This is a crab apple, they have bloomed exuberantly this last week and now the cooking and eating apples are starting. (For those in Eire and UK for whom it may be a novelty, don't you just love the blue sky!).


Dandelions have peaked already. Dandelions are a most wonderful plant, Got to share her beauty!


and of course ROSEMARY!
We have a few prostrate rosemary's but our biggest plant is about 14 years old. It is growing right up against the south end of the west facing house wall in a little bed with soil about 12inches deep and 10 inches wide that runs along beside the house. It is in such a tiny amount of soil and has been covered in bees during any decent weather since December. It is really easy to propagate by layering or cuttings (google).

Kim
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


We have 2 ceanothus, One is much taller and has been in flower a month already, I have only seen the odd wasp on it. The ceanothus in this picture has smaller leaves and flowers and sorry I don't know the name of the cultivar, It is still about 6 foot tall and 10 foot wide and this the honey bees ARE enjoying with sacs of yellow pollen.


Here you can just see the pittosporum flowers are in the background, it only lasted about 10 days.



This maple is only small, I saw honey bees on it a day or two before this photo was taken.

I forgot to mention on last post that the Blue bells are receiving some attention too.

The kale is interesting too. I grew 3 varieties last year, a red Russian, a curly Irish and cavolo nero Italian kale, The Italian flowered first, they are 3 shades of yellow and the honey bees are on the Russian the most, bumbles more on the others.

Kim
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been very busy planting and the bees are on so much now, I will make this my last post for this spring.

We have a lot of "wild" area in our garden and what I have found most striking as I walk about, is that the vegetable garden is so densely packed with bees compared to other areas.(Perhaps each area has its season). Cover crops and companion planting are big priorities for me in the veg patch.


Crimson clover.


Poached Egg Plant, Limnanthes douglasii, Fantastic ground cover, annual plant, self-seeds in cultivated damp clay soil.


Phacelia. My camera always struggles to focus on Phacelia!


Raspberry, It is mostly wasps and bumble bees that I see on the Raspberries but there are some honey bees too.


Embothrium or Chilian flame tree. It is 20 foot tall and 12 foot wide and covered in flowers and buzzing. I have searched and searched for other references of honey bees on the Embothrium to no avail, I would be very interested if anyone else knows anything about this plants usefulness to bees.
It is not on the Wikipedia page of honey bee plants ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_honey_plants ) or on the RHS list of pollinator friendly plants ( http://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/encourage-wildlife-to-your-garden/plants-for-pollinators ). But I did see honey bees and bumble bees all over it...?

The bees continue to love the Ceanothus and have finally finished on the Rosemary. The winter here was so mild that some Borage overwintered and is in flower already, It self-seeds and the new seedlings for this year are still little. I am not keeping up with hedgerow plants, I am in the veg garden a lot so this is what I see. It is such a joy to see so much foraging there.
Although the forget-me-not is still in flower it is now ignored in preference for Poached egg plant, Phacelia and the crimson clover. .


As a reminder, Photos are not required to contribute to this thread. If you notice a plant, anywhere, wild or cultivated, that is being visited by honey bees please do share your observation so that this thread will represent the plants that bees love and not just the plants that I see.

Kim
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Broadwell
Foraging Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 122
Location: UK, Kent, High Weald

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kim,

Thank you for keeping posting these updates. It's great to see how popular with the bees many of the plants I've bought are going to be once they've got a bit bigger, and to hear of others that I hadn't considered before.

My bees seem to have been exclusively interested in the vast rape field nearby since the fruit trees finished flowering, and have left the raspberries and other bits and bobs for the bumbles.

I look forward to seeing what your bees take interest in during high summer.
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last of Winter is still hanging on here, last week it looked like this....



But Spring is not far away, the Plum trees are trying their hardest to burst their buds, the purple varieties have a very few blooms on them, but nothing solid. The Willows all have buds swelling and ready for a warm spell, but we are still getting hard frosts overnight and only a few hours a day where the temperature might reach double figures Celsius..... on a good day!

But the local pollinators are waking up. Not much choice in our garden this early (before the afore mentioned Plums & Willows), except for two Erica's that grow around the centre plot of our circular driveway, one a white variety and the other a lavender purple. Without these I don't know where the locals might be looking in our garden, but at the moment they are alive with Honey Bees and Hover Flies.



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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Delighted to see this today, (Although I don't know if it is "good" for the bees to be collecting pollen on January 2nd? ) I am just always happy to see the bees.


Viburnum × bodnantense 'Dawn', Honey bee with pollen sac.


The flower tube appears too long for honey bees but pollen sac is visible, the bumble bees do love the viburnum.

Kim
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


This was the winter flowering cherry on November 28th.
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B kind
Scout Bee


Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 250
Location: Co.Wicklow, Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Hellebore March 10th.


Cornus mas, cornelian cherry, March 10th.


Camelia 'donation'. March 10th.


Viburnum × bodnantense 'Dawn'. March 10th.


Crocus, this photo a couple of weeks ago but bees are still on the crocus.


Gorse, this photo from February 13th.

The snowdrops have just about finished. I still haven't seen bees on the hazel! and there are several big hazels nearby, maybe I am just missing them?! Rosemary continues to be good, peaches and apricots are just beginning. I only have a little patch of Siberian Squill / Scilla Siberica but bees were on it too yesterday.

Kim
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