Posts Tagged ‘bee-loving flowers’

August 5, 2014...Male squash blossom (possibly an acorn squash)  You can see the small sipping holes where the bees get the nectar.

August 5, 2014…Male squash blossom (possibly an acorn squash) You can see the small sipping holes where the bees get the nectar.  Male blossoms open earlier than female blossoms and stay open for days at a time.

August 1, 2014...A honeybee sipping nectar from a male squash blossom.  This was a surprise to me, that male blossoms had nectar.

August 1, 2014…A honeybee sipping nectar from a male squash blossom.   The bee picks up pollen from the anther to transfer to the female blossom.

Honeybee sipping from nectar fountain of the female squash blossom...rubbing pollen upward onto the stigma (?)

The blossom provides  nectar to attract pollinators.  This honeybee is sipping from nectar fountain of the female squash blossom…rubbing pollen onto the stigma.

August 6, 2014...this female blossom just opened today.  Already there is a bee in attendance.

August 6, 2014…this female blossom just opened today. Already there is a bee in attendance.

I'll keep an eye on this acorn squash for a couple of days...it should start getting larger.

Open at 9:29 am or before…

After being opened one day only, this female blossom closed up shop.  Male blossoms open earlier than females and stay open for days at a time.

Closed at 7:04 pm…after being opened only one day, this female blossom closed up shop.

 

August 7, 2014...blossom closed yesterday and remains closed.  A measurement of 1 3/16" (30 mm) is made on the diameter.

August 7, 2014…blossom closed yesterday and remains closed. A measurement of 1 3/16″ (30 mm) is made on the diameter of the tiny acorn squash.

 

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…and gets it from the honeybees!

June 2, 2014...The pink poppy just opened up this morning.  Maybe that's why there are so many bees on it.  Many more than the red ones.

June 2, 2014…This pink poppy (Pink Princess) just opened up this morning. The honeybees seem to favor it over the red poppies..

By contrast, there is only one bee at a time on the red poppies.  Maybe they think it's more dignified. :-)

By contrast, there is only one bee at a time on the red poppies. Maybe they think it’s more dignified. 🙂

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May 29, 2014...At one time there were five bees in here.  By the time I grabbed the camera they had all left the scene.

May 29, 2014…My wife said there were five bees on this earlier, but when I grabbed the camera, I only caught one bee.

May 28, 2014...The New Zealand Cabbage trees are blooming.  Our bees love it.

May 28, 2014…My neighbor’s  New Zealand Cabbage trees are blooming. I’m glad it’s on someone else’s property because there is a strong odor associated with it.  Our bees love it.

May 28, 2014...New Zealand Cabbage has been blooming awhile.  There is  a strong odor that attracts the bees as they are numerous.

May 28, 2014…New Zealand Cabbage has been blooming awhile.  Our bees are all over it, all day.

May 27, 2014...A skipper is probing the depths for nectar.  In the video, you can see it try several spots before finally succeeding.  The bees love this plant as well.

May 27, 2014…A skipper is probing the depths of this Pink Chintz Thyme for nectar. In the video, you can see it try several spots before finally succeeding. The bees love this plant as well.

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…that’s when she called me.

May 1, 2014 Mid afternoon...Photo by Mary Schamehorn.  I'm glad Mary got a shot of this.  When I got there, they were relatively peaceful.

May 1, 2014 mid afternoon…Photo by Mary Schamehorn. I’m glad Mary got a shot of this. When I got there, they were relatively peaceful.

4:38 pm...By the time I got there, the bees had settled in.

4:38 pm…By the time I got there, the bees had settled within the birdhouse.  I looked at it, determined I could remove it from the post, and got my tools together.  Ha ha, the screws were rusty I couldn’t get them to budge before stripping them out.  I had to remove the post too.

I placed the birdhouse next to the newly assembled and baited  Warre hive.   I was hoping the bees would recognize a 4 star lodge with ample room to grow.

I placed it  next to the newly assembled and baited Warre hive in my bee garden.  I was hoping the bees would recognize a 4 star lodging with ample room to grow…they didn’t.  I gave them plenty of time to reconsider, but they weren’t having it.  I couldn’t leave them there, like that.  I didn’t want to grind the brackets off or pry the birdhouse floor off because it would have been too stressful.  “Dramatic and traumatic” are words I like to avoid in beekeeping.

Okay, I’ve got to move the birdhouse out of the bee garden because, well, we’ve got to be able to weed and water without the bees buzzing us.  After two days, I pre-dug a post hole, waited til night and ‘posted’ the birdhouse among the ferns about 20 feet away.  (Something most beekeepers would tell you NOT to do because the bees might not be able to find their way back to the hive.)  I stuffed tissue paper into the entrance hole so the bees would notice something was different.  They would have to make orientation flights all over again.  I’m thinking that maybe the Warre was too close to the birdhouse…if I move it away, maybe they will want it more.  My wife said I was crazy to think that.  I says, ‘maybe,’ but we’ve got to get it out of the way.

 

Next day, the birdhouse/hive is in it's new location.  The bees are aware something is different because of the tissue paper stuffed in the entrance hole.

Next day, the birdhouse/hive is in it’s new location. The bees are aware something is different because of the tissue paper stuffed in the entrance hole.

 

As I wife bicycled to town, I noticed a bunch of activity between the birdhouse and the Warre hive.  I got my camera to document my findings...I was going to have it on camera so I could show my wife I knew what I was doing.

As my wife bicycled to town, I noticed a bunch of activity between the birdhouse and the Warre hive. I got my camera to document my findings…I was going to have it on camera so I could show her I knew what I was doing.  They are fanning from the nasonov gland to indicate the queen is within.  Wow, that didn’t take long.  My wife is going to have to admit I was right, but I’ll be humble and admit it’s just a stroke of luck.  But it was too good to be true.  By the time she returned the crowd at the entrance was thinning and the bees rejected this hive once again.

 

Here is where they will stay.  It's the house they chose and while the location has changed a few times, the house is the same.

Here is where they will stay. It’s the house they chose and while the location has changed a few times, the house is the same.  I just wish I could have fastened it to a taller post.

Mary's bees have settled in now.  They have discovered the Poached egg meadowfoam.

Mary’s bees have settled in now. They have discovered the Poached egg meadowfoam.

Mary's bee cleaning off her antennae.  How do I know they are Mary's bees?  The abdomen colors are different.  I'm happy to get new genetics in my bee yard.

Mary’s bee cleaning off her antennae. How do I know they are Mary’s bees? The abdomen colors are different. I’m happy to get new genetics in my bee yard.

Mayor Mary’s side of the story…   (Scroll towards the bottom til you see the birdhouse swarm)

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Another example of a ‘bully bee.’

A disagreement over blossom rights.

Our cat likes to play in this grass.  I have no idea why she likes it, but like it she does.  When I had the camera out shooting the bees on the pussy willow last week, I caught her in the act.

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July 10, 2013...Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

July 7, 2013…Spring veggies harvested, soil spaded and leveled, drip watering in place, this bed is ready to plant our winter garden.

When we planted  turnips, lettuce and kale in July for our winter garden little did we know we were planting for the bees as well as ourselves.

July 28, 2013...turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides.

July 28, 2013…turnips are growing nicely in the center, lettuce and kale are on the sides. Deer netting over pvc hoops.

January 16, 2014...We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed.  We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January.  What a welcome surprise.

January 16, 2014…We had eaten most of the turnips and just left a few to go to seed. We never thought the bees would be enjoying them in mid January. What a welcome surprise.

February 9, 2014...My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up.  I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014…My apologies for posting such a fuzzy picture of a bee on the catkins,but it was rather high up. I wanted to show where the pollen was coming from that is going into my log hive.

February 9, 2014...Many colors of pollen entering the hive.  In the video you can see the bright yellow from the turnip flowers.  It's possible this is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom

February 9, 2014…Many colors of pollen can be seen entering the hive. In the video you can see the bright yellow pollen from turnip flowers. It’s possible this shot is from the pussy willows that are just starting to blossom.  The darker orange might be from early gorse.

February 10, 2014...Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January.  Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.

February 10, 2014…Yellow turnip flowers have been flowering since mid January. Pussy willows are starting to blossom already.  Second bed is producing greens for our salads.  We can eat them 15 minutes after they are picked…can’t get much fresher than that.  We cover them with plastic film (partially visible on far side) on nights of sub freezing temps.

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Last year in June, before the deer discovered it, the bees were on the Meadowfoam everyday.

Last year in June, before the deer discovered it, the bees were on the Meadowfoam everyday.

If you’ve ever watched the bees on a Poached Egg Meadowfoam (Limnanthes Douglasii),  you will want to grow some for your bees.    Last year I bought 12 plants from my friendly nursery (101 Plants).  The bees were on them everyday.  Unfortunately, the deer discovered them, and mowed them down.  This year I’m happy to say I found a source for seeds.  I’m buying 1000 seeds for under $5.00 from Outside Pride in Oregon.  With that many seeds, I can scatter them in quite a few areas (fenced in, this time).  The bees will love them and so will I.

aaaaa

Another photo taken shortly before the deer decided to sample it last year.

I was under the mistaken impression that Meadowfoam was grown mostly in Oregon and Northern California, but I see the Royal Horticultural Society in Great Britain has a listing for it as a Poached Egg Plant.

The oil from Limnanthes Alba is valuable…According to Oregon Meadowfoam Growers, meadowfoam oil is 20 times more stable than soybean oil, which means it does not deteriorate as readily when exposed to air. A gallon of meadowfoam oil is worth about $200 retail.

February 2, 2014...the salvia is looking strong.  Footnote...we replaced some bulbs with the full spectrum bulbs this year.  Hoping to lessen the legginess.

February 2, 2014…the salvia is looking strong. Footnote…we replaced some bulbs in the light stand with the full spectrum bulbs this year hoping to lessen the legginess. These look good.

June 28, 2013...Penstemon is a great bumblebee attraction.

June 28, 2013…Penstemon is a great bumblebee attraction.

Put date and caption here

June 9, 2013…Honeybees are getting nectar from the Pincushion Flowers (Scabiosa)

Don’t forget the butterflies!

February 3, 2014...received my Butterflyseed package today.  These bright flowers attract honeybees also.

February 3, 2014…received my Butterflyweed seed package today. These bright flowers attract honeybees also.

One of the beekeeping blogs I follow, written by Emma Sarah Tennant, featured a TED talk by Marla Spivak, showing the reasons why bees are disappearing and how we can help them by planting habitat.  We are proud to be a small part of a growing movement to help our wild pollinators.

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Oregon Grape-Holly

Oregon Grape-Holly blooming in late November

Most visitors to the post office go to get their mail.  These visitors go to get nectar.  The Oregon Grape Holly is in full bloom, offering nectar and nectar is what they got.  Honeybees, bumblebees, even a couple of green hummingbirds partake in the feast.

What is the importance of nectar?   My Biodiversity Garden states “Nectar is the fuel for our pollinators such as solitary bees, bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, moths and bats. It is the only source of energy and without it, the pollinators cannot fly. Nectar is secreted by nectaries within the flower.”

According to Dave’s Gardens  Mahonia Aquifolium blooms in mid spring.  This is late November!  The plant is growing against a brick wall, facing south, during an unseasonably dry autumn.  In any case, the wild pollinators love it.

November 24th...This honeybee is getting nectar from an early blooming Oregon Grape Holly

November 24th…This honeybee is getting nectar from an early blooming Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia Aquifolium)

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Some of the bulbs being planted for the bees

Some of the bulbs being planted for the bees.  I was able to purchase these locally from my favorite nursery, 101 Plants and Gifts.

It’s possible that everyone already knows certain bulbs provide an early nectar source for bees.  I might be new to the game because, well, I’ve never really been overly appreciative of growing flowers.  “They take up space and use precious water.”  Being on a shallow well makes you a water miser.  But these grow during the rainy season.  Some can even be planted in the front lawn, not taking up space or using extra water as in the Siberian Squill.  Being a beekeeper has changed my attitude towards flowers.  Now my motto is, ” You can never have too many (bee-loving) flowers.”

Since I recently broke up a new patch of ground for the Towers of Jewel ‘trees’, I have some extra space I can dedicate to bulbs.  Che Guebuddha,  a blogger from Sweden,  mentioned even more bulbs like the white Snow Drops and the yellow Eranthis.  A quick call to find out I can’t get them locally, but I CAN get them from John Scheepers on the east coast.  I order another 150 more.  Looks like I’ll have to break more ground.  As an after thought I wonder if I have to worry about poisons on the bulbs.  Alicia at the customer service desk of John Scheepers, Inc. assures me “there are no sprays, poisons, or toxins associated with these bulbs.”  Good!  They are going in next weekend.

With the addition of bulbs, we'll provide early nectar as well as summer food.

Newly planted “Tower of Jewel ‘trees.  I’m counting on these plants to grow about 10 feet (3 meters) this spring.  With the addition of bulbs, we’ll be able to provide an early nectar source as well as mid summer nourishment for the honeybees and bumblebees.

12-26-13...Persian Blue Alliums are up already.  I don't know if that's a good thing or not!  I'm protecting this patch because the sub freezing temps are bad for the echium...something I didn't think about when I planted the bulbs. :-(

12-26-13…Drumstick Alliums are up already. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not! I’m protecting this patch because the sub freezing temps are bad for the echium (Tower of Jewels)…something I didn’t think about when I planted the bulbs. 😦

February 5, 2014...Grape Hyacinth and 15 Drumstick Allium are up.  Giant Snowdrops just breaking.

February 5, 2014…Grape Hyacinth and 15 Drumstick Allium are up. Giant Snowdrops just breaking.

February 5, 2-14...close up of Grape Hyacinth.  My wife says I planted them too close together.  She might be right.

February 5, 2014…close up of Grape Hyacinth. My wife says I planted them too close together. She might be right.

 

 

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But they ARE echium ‘trees’;  more specifically, Towers of Jewels.

I spaded the this patch of turf, then kept finding more and more transplants to put in.

I spaded the this patch of turf, then kept finding more and more transplants to put in.

Last year the only one I had grew 10 feet (3 meters) in a single year.  The bumblebees loved it.  They worked it mid May til mid September.  I kept thinking about collecting seeds, then forgot.  Not to worry, I’ve got plenty of ‘upstarts’ now.

If I ever had any doubts that the Tower of Jewels would throw seeds, those doubts have vanished.  Self-seeded echium in garlic bed.

If I ever had any doubts that the Tower of Jewels would throw seeds, those doubts have vanished.      I’ve got to get these out of here to plant garlic.  If I don’t transplant them, my wife has threatened to ‘toss’ them.  Why?  We have so many.

The plants don't have big root balls.   Hope they take.

The plants don’t have big root balls. Hope they take.

These look a little wilty.

October 20, hummm, they look a little wilty.  I better water them.

November 9, 2013...They are starting to look better after I trimmed the lower leaves. What are the tires for?  They are to hold up the tarp to protect them from freezing.  Not too hard to cover them when they are this short.

November 9, 2013…They are starting to look better after I trimmed the lower leaves.
What are the tires for? They are to hold up a tarp to protect them from freezing.

November 13...Echium in the sun, looks good.

November 13…Echium in the sun, looks good.  This will be the area I’ll plant some of my “Bulbs for the Bees,”  Snowdrops, Winter Aconite, and Siberian Scilla.

According to Palmbob, at Dave’s garden, trying to transplant it, ends up killing it, but these are still growing almost a month after transplanting.    The Tower of Jewels is a member of the Boraginaceae family which includes borage (grows all year here) and comfrey which I planted 40 years ago and is still coming back.  I’m hoping these will grow to be tall nectar sources for bees and butterflies.

11-24-13...I've had to take drastic action for the cold weather.  Bags of leaves hold up the tarp, tires hold it down.

11-24-13…I’ve had to take drastic action for the cold weather. Bags of leaves hold up the tarp, tires hold it down.

12-26-13...These echium have definitely taken a hit from the sub freezing temps we've been experiencing for a couple of weeks.  I hope they make it.

12-26-13…These echium have definitely taken a hit from the sub freezing temps we’ve been experiencing for a couple of weeks. I hope they make it.

February 5, 2014...Five out of six have survived so far.  These sub freezing nights are NOT helping.  I cover them with blankets and a plastic tarp every night.

February 5, 2014…Five out of six have survived so far. These sub freezing nights are NOT helping. I cover them with blankets and a plastic tarp every night.

February 5, 2014...new growth means it's still alive!  More cold nights forecast so I've got to keep them protected.

February 5, 2014…new growth means it’s still alive! More cold nights forecast so I’ve got to keep them protected.

Feb. 5, 2014...These four echium are more slightly more protected.  They were put here as a back up (Plan Bee)

Feb. 5, 2014…These four echium in the backyard are slightly more protected. They were put here as a back up (Plan Bee).  I didn’t think it was a very good spot because of the shade, but they are doing the best of the bunch.

12-29-14...I shot these  back yard echium to show the progress they have made.  No blossoms in 2014 means they will blossom in 2015 (if they make it through the winter without frost damage.

12-29-14…I shot these backyard echium to show the progress they have made. No blossoms in 2014 means they will blossom in 2015 (if they make it through the winter without frost damage.)

March 9, 2015...Is this the year the echium will bloom?  I sure hope so.  It's putting on a spurt of growth.

March 9, 2015…Is this the year the echium will bloom? I sure hope so. It’s putting on a spurt of growth.

February 23, 2014...five echium still hanging on, barely.

February 23, 2014…five echium still hanging on, barely.

February 23, 2014...This poor echium plant suffered in the cold temps, but it's still showing signs of life.

February 23, 2014…This poor echium plant suffered in the cold temps, but it’s still showing signs of life.  Footnote…it didn’t make it.

June 16, 2014...Three echiums made it through the winter, but it looks like they are not going to bloom this year.  Sometimes it's the second year and sometimes it's the third year.  It looks like I'm going to have to wait a year.

June 16, 2014…Three echiums made it through the winter, but it looks like they are not going to bloom this year. Sometimes it’s the second year and sometimes it’s the third year. I guess I’m going to have to wait a year.  😦

12-29-14...There are still 3 echium plants going into winter, although one looks a little sick.  I wanted to shoot a photo before I covered them up with tarps prior to the big freeze this week.

12-29-14…There are still 3 echium plants going into winter, although one looks a little sick. I wanted to shoot a photo before I covered them up with tarps prior to the big freeze this week.

March 9...This echium also has been adding height.  I notice it most when I try to pull the tarp over the top to protect it from frost.

March 9…This echium has also been adding height.  I started noticing it when I tried to pull the tarp over the top to protect it from frost.  We haven’t seen any bud starts yet.

March 19...I just noticed the tallest echium (in the picture above) is starting to send out blossoms.  Hooray!

March 19…I just noticed the tallest echium (in the picture above) is starting to send out bud starts. Hooray!

July 14, 2015...In the spring, we enlarged this bed and planted some bee-loving plants along with the echium.

July 14, 2015…In the spring, we enlarged this bed and planted some bee-loving plants along with the Towers of Jewels echium plants shown in the background.

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