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Author Topic: Gorilla gardening  (Read 3840 times)
Jessaboo
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« on: May 05, 2008, 11:27:23 PM »

I have several fallow lots and a few parks/pathways around my town where I am dying to "accidentally drop" some flower seeds that will provide some nice forage for my honeys. Anyone ever try anything like this and had any luck?

If I do it - what do you think would be the best seeds to use? I would like things that are not only great for bees but that have a good chance of reseeding but not necessarily being perennial. I am trying to temper my thoughts by not using things that might become invasive or things that most folks would consider weeds (like henbit).

I am thinking poppy, morning glory, goldenrod, larkspur. What about cosmos - do honeybees care for them? Other suggestions?

Also (and separately) - anyone know what bees think of wallflower?
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 10:19:48 PM by Jessaboo » Logged
reinbeau
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2008, 01:30:29 PM »

Cosmos are good (and will reseed), drop some zinnia seeds (probably won't reseed, but), they really love them and they grow fast.  Sunflowers will reseed.  Don't be dropping morning glory seeds to run wild, in many areas they're invasive and people won't like you anymore  evil  Echinacea reseed, yes, they are perennials, but they're so lovely and the bees do love them.  I don't know about wallflowers, I've never seen them go for them but then again I probably wasn't looking. 
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MrILoveTheAnts
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2008, 02:24:22 PM »

Your local Milkweed and Joe Pye Weed are very beneficial native plants. Sunflowers would be the easiest rout and they are native too, however birds will certainly eat the seeds if you simply "drop" them on the ground, and they do require more of a full sun location. Poppies are good ok. Zinnias are also good but better when all one color, though they will very likely developer disease. Asters are good and also native, Goldenrod too but both of these bloom in the fall. Dandelion are native and very good as well.

I've had fair luck getting them to use Liatris, though some they won't touch and they're more of a small bulb plant anyhow. 
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mairghead
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2008, 03:00:18 PM »

This may sound strange, but you can roll small seed balls with compost and goat dung to drop and it cuts down on the birds eating them.  You just want to use a little dung as the manure can burn the seed.  This also gives it some fertilizer and some protection while the shoot develops.

You also may consider buying some of the seeds in a roll at your local mart type business.  You can often get good wildflower mats that you could cut up and drop in pieces.

It's probably a good idea to soak the seeds beforehand on most varieties, though dandelions and some other wildflowers should do fine without soaking.

Jackie
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2008, 04:27:47 PM »

You are going to need to seed a LOT of area to make any impact on your honey.  As in acres.

But if you want to beautify the area, that is a good enough reason.  I like sunflowers, they always come up the next year.  They, however, can be considered invasive as well. 

Purple loosestrife and spotted knapweed will be guaranteed to take over the area, but there again, if they aren't in the area already you wouldn't be doing anybody a favor, they are BAD news, so I don't know why I'm even mentioning them  rolleyes.

-r
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2008, 10:50:42 PM »

Rabbit pellets doesn't burn the seeds and works just as well.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2008, 04:44:16 AM »

And to think I was going to learn how to grow some Gorillas!!! False advertisement!!! I'm tellin' the mods!!! You can't get away with this!! grin

Breaker, breaker  we got a 10 20, is throwing seeds outta the window in a lot littering??? Don't know if we should fine them or make them till!! grin


...JP
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2008, 04:41:19 PM »

If it's a very wet area perhaps next to a pond, stream, or considered swamp land you could vary easily plant a Button Bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis. They're also a native plant to the US and a fairly prolific. I read they will even grow in shallow water. 6 to 8 feet but can sometimes get to be 15 feet tall and about 7 wide. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds use the fragrant flowers as food, and water birds will eat the seeds.
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Cindi
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2008, 09:01:34 AM »

Jessaboo, we have a great list of bee plants that I am going to bring on here for you.  Ann (Rienbow) and I both worked on this list.  There are many, many annuals there that you can just drop on the ground.  In nature, when plants sow seeds they are mostly not covered, most seeds will germinate without the covering of soil, many require soil depth.

BEE PLANT LIST
Centaurea Blue Boy Bachelors Button -- Bees and hover flies love
Borage officinalis -- Bees love it, cousin to comfrey, not affected by rain because of drooping blue flowers
Agastache (Anise Hyssop) --  loved by bees
Comfrey -- Bees love it
Centaurea Dwarf polkdot mix Bachelors Button -- Bees and hoverflies love it
Consolida (larkspur) Consolida ambigua  -- attracts beneficials
Eryngium planum Sea holly -- Bees are mad about this variety
Thyme T. Vulgaris -- a good honey plant for bees (thymus vulgaris)
Fireweed -- excellent honey, bees love it
Canary Creeper T. peregrinum -- bees love it, late late pollen plant
Cosmos –- valuable for late nectar source
Phacelia tanacetifolia (Purple Tansy) -- attracts bee from miles
Poppy giganthemum p. somniferum poppyseed poppy
California poppy “Apricot chiffon”eschscholzia californica -- bees love it
Catnip Nepeta Cataria -- a good bee plant
Lemon Balm Melissa officinanlis -- Perennial, bees love it
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis Perennial, -- bees, hoverflies
Lovage Levisticum officinale -- bees love it
Spearmint Mentha spicata blooms late summer, --- bees, hummingbirds
Helipterum (Acroclinium) helipterum roseum  Sensation Giants Mix
Yellow rocket
Impatiens capensis grows wild around my house, great for late nectar/pollen, lasts til frost-kill
Great Blue Lobelia L. siphilitica perennial, dappled light, self-sows, flowers summer through autumn
Salvia Violet Queen S nemorosa  -- particularly attractive to butterflies & bees  Flowers 2nd year
Crimson clover Trifolium incarnatum outstanding cut flowers, -- annual, bees love it
Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum -- bees love it, turn under 10 days after flowering to avoid seed drop
White Dutch Clover Trifolium repens -- all beneficial insects

In this list you find many, many plants that are easy to grow.  Hope this helps you out alot.

Bachelors Buttons is a really attractive one for the bees that is not really invasive.  Bees really like blue flowers, I have a mountain of types of plants that self seed everywhere on my property, and the bees are in a seventh heaven here with them.  Every year I add more to different places and they self-seed and this carries on, and on, and on.  I am in the process now of all the seeds that I have gathered from most of the annuals of sowing them in new places around my property.  It will be a work of beauty around here this summer.  I successive sow many plants, so they continue right up until frost kill.  I am just now going to sow the buckwheat because I see it germinating.  When buckwheat germinates, the time is right for getting my gathered seeds spread.  Have the most wonderful and beautiful day, love our lives we live.  Cindi
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2008, 03:03:01 PM »

Personally, if you're just broadcasting seeds, you need very hardy germinaters. to me this means, cosmos, poppies, borage, black-eyed susans, daisies and the like. Combo of pernial, and annuals. nothing is easier than cosmos,poppies and borage.
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2008, 06:49:00 PM »

Hey,

These guys wildflower buttterfly honey bee mix have an excellent deal by the pound. Also can pick mix according to your zone.

cheers

peter
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2008, 11:23:02 PM »

Just wanted to thank you all so much for your answers - the dung idea is fab - the list from Cindi is really helpful and the link to the wildflower site means I can buy in bulk!

Ladybird will have nothing on me....

Thank you.

- Jess
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poka-bee
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2008, 12:45:05 PM »

Thanks Peter for the link..it's now in my favorites!  I have a hard time finding wildflower mixes for the shade.  Have acidic soil from the many cedar/hemlock/pine needles too.  I have many rhodys & would like to plant flowers amongst them for color later in the summer.  Jody
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ooptec
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2008, 12:50:18 PM »

Polka-bee your very welcome, yes there isn't a plethora of places for bulk seed at a good price

BTW did I read somewhere that rhodo nectar is poisonous to bees and humans??

cheers

peter
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poka-bee
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2008, 01:33:49 PM »

I know the leaves are but I think we & the bees would have to eat tons of concentrated nectar to have any effect.  My goats have eaten a few leaves with no averse reactions.  The bumbles & bees love the rhody flowers, as do the hummers you can hear the buzzing of busy insects from the house.  I will take pics when everything is blooming a/once, I have rhodys, lilac, golden chain & magnolia around the pond.  Jody
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2008, 02:28:05 PM »

Cool ....... Just shows to go you ya can't believe everything you read   lol

Dog, I love spring

cheers

peter
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Cindi
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« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2008, 08:31:23 AM »

I heard that there were a few isolated poisonings from the rhododendrons and honeybees.  Don't know much more.

I have massive rhodo trees here.  Last summer I spent alot of time looking at them to see who was working them.  At my place, the only thing that worked the rhodos were the bombus, narry a bumblebee ever seen.  I wouldn't worry too much about honeybees and rhodos, not worth worrying about.  The small amount of nectar that MAY be poisonous would be very miniscule, in my opinion, rhodos only bloom for a very short period, of course,with different varieties the blooming period may be longer. Nothing I would worry too much about.  Beautiful day in this great life we all are sharin'.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2008, 11:26:21 AM »

This is a perennial question, one I had myself.  The answer to the rhododendron honey subject is:  honeybees will work them, but they're not their favorite.  You'll see more bumbles on them.  Also the rhodos bloom early, so the honey made by the bees is usually consumed as food over the spring season, they work different nectar sources over the season, and it's gone by the end of summer.  It seems to be true, I'm surrounded by over eight acres of rhodocendrons and our honey hasn't  driven us crazy(er) yet!  evil

Here's more information on 'Mad Honey Disease'.  You get 'intoxicated' and then end up losing your cookies - doesn't sound very pleasant, but it's rarely fatal, or so they say.
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Vetch
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2008, 09:26:01 AM »

Just came across a link to an article on Guerrilla gardening in the LA Times. They also mentioned a website www.GuerrillaGardening.org.

http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-guerrilla29-2008may29,0,2094982.story
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2008, 09:43:49 AM »

Hi Vetch -

This is fab! Thank you - I love the slide show for making "seed bombs" - I especially love the fact that she is using the heel of her stiletto shoe to make the planting hole! Gotta love those crazy gardeners!

I work with a young adult group and I think that we will def be doing some seed bombing!

- Jess
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2008, 10:25:54 PM »

HUGE article in the NYTimes Magazine last Sunday about this very topic!

Despite being a bad speller (what was I thinking - Gorilla gardening - now I know why JP thought he was going to read about how to grow gorillas...?!) I remain always on the cutting edge of culture... grin

Link to full article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/magazine/08guerrilla-t.html?ex=1370491200&en=4bdc41b1ce8b6f0b&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

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