I know there has been a lot of discussion about bee plants but I am wondering about a few plants I am completely unfamiliar with. I am sure they are not for large foraging areas like phacelia or buckwheat would be but they are attractive to me for having in my garden. All of these are from Heronswood Nursery's catalog - they have great and unusual stuff!
First is Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos astrosanguineus) - the catalog claims it is perennial - not that is self sows but that it actually comes back as a perennial clump. True?
Chocolate cosmos is actually a dahlia, if you can perennially grow dahlias then yes, it will come back from the roots, if not, you'll have to pull it and keep it over the winter.
Next we've got Melianthus major which they are also calling Honey Bush. From my internet search it appears to be a South African native. While several sites mention it attracts bees and several mention that the plant itself is poisonous, only one mentions nectar/honey and that claims the honey is black and considered toxic. Anyone know this plant?
I've actually read about this plant but haven't grown it, but for me it definitely would be a greenhouse plant, it's a South African native, thus it's growing more in the winter, not a good thing for those of us with cold and snow.
[quoteThird is Melittis melissophyllum "Royal Velvet Distinction" also called Bastard Balm. I can't find anything online except that it "attracts bees" - this one is quite a beautiful plant - almost like an orchid. The "melisso-" part of the name and the common name of "balm" give me hope that this might be a good garden/bee plant.[/quote]This is a member of the mint family, I've not seen it grown up around here, where it's a Great Britian native I'm betting it isn't hardy for me here, but it may be for you, depends on your zone.
Finally - I adore Hellebores especially since they bloom so very early - sometimes in Feb! Anyone know if the bees will work them? Obviously I am not planting fields of them but it would be nice for them to have something little to work between the heaths/heathers and the maples and these might fit the bill?
I have to say I've not seen honeybees working hellabores, doesn't mean they don't, I've just not seen it.