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Author Topic: What should I plant? (NJ)  (Read 6778 times)
MrILoveTheAnts
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« on: March 06, 2007, 10:42:12 PM »

I planted flowers for my bees last year, I forget what they were but basically I went to the garden store and bought whatever had bees on it. Once planted though I found these plants got far more attention from local species of butterfly, gnat, fly, and solitary ground bees and wasps. I did see my bees on them but usually never anything more than 3 at a time. Compared with the number of flowers and other bugs pollinating them I wonder if there are better kinds of flowers meant for afas mellifera. I know some plants are picky about who pollinates them, so are there specific genery of plant I should be looking into? I tried Sunflowers too, one year but found more bumble bees on them than honey bees.
I live in New Jersey, and I'm not against growing vegetables or maybe buying a small fruit tree of some sort. My yard would be considered a not so lush lawn with wild violets over running most of the grass. The bees seem to adore these, along with several other plants that most would consider weeds. Along our fence we have wild honey suckle and a few other vine plants but the bees never touch these.
Thank you in advance.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2007, 07:11:11 AM »

There have been MANY posts on the subject.  I'd start with a search.  Basically, though, bees regularly forage the 8,000 acres around you.  So trying to plant a honey crop isn't practical.  But planting to fill the gaps is helpful.  Early, late and drought blooming plants are what I'd shoot for.

I plan goldenrod, sweet clover, white clover, birdsfoot trefoil, alfalfa, chickory, milkweed, smartweed and asters.  They tell me that anise hissop is well worth planting.  I haven't gotten any yet.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 09:53:13 AM »

Anise hyssop. Awesome, hardy and easy and inexpensive. Can buy it at Berlin Mart on outside.Lavender and russian sage are good.Cosmos.Poppies. All easy.
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reinbeau
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2007, 11:30:55 AM »

Zinnias.  Sunflowers.  Herbs like oregano, thyme, chives, alliums, too many to list!  There's another thread around here where Cindi gives a wonderful list....Found it!  Copied below:

I spent many many hours last winter researching some of the best bee plants for pollen and nectar.  I have a list compiled that I am posting. Good luck.

The flowers that I found most attractive beyond your wildest dreams were:  phacelia tanacetifolia (blue tansy), borage officinalis, California poppy and the cornflower.  Smothered in bees all summer long (and the bombus too, along with other beneficials).  HOpe this gives you a great number of good bee plants to make some choices from.  There are many many more, but these are my choices.  Great day.  Cindi

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

Enjoy and great day.  Cindi
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- Ann, A Gardening Beek -  ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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JBird
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2007, 01:40:23 PM »

I live right around the corner from you, MrILoveTheAnts.  I've had great luck with several species of milkweed, especially Ascelpias tuberosa, commonly referred to as Butterfly Weed, although in fifteen+ years of growing this plant I've not once seen a butterfly on it!  Perhaps it got its name due to Monarch caterpillars commonly feeding upon it (and other milkweeds) in the late summer.   Anyway, great plant, bees love it, and, important to some folks (me included), it's a native plant to our area.  I too have Anise hyssop plants and the bees do go wild on it.  Lavender thrives in a hot and sunny spot and is well received by the bees.  Liatris is another plant that can be found at most garden centers that bees like.  Should you want to plant a few small trees for your bees, I heartily recommend either species of the genus Evodia.  A native of China, I've never seen a plant attract more insects with it flowers than these trees.  And any of the Lindens (genus Tilia) yield tons of nectar.  I've been growing a bunch of bleep willows (genus Salix) since they're an excellent source of early pollen.  One variety I've propagating flowers in a week or two (mid-March!).  Again, there are all sizes and forms of willow to fit almost any space.
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MrILoveTheAnts
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2007, 02:29:35 PM »

Thanks everyone for the list of plants.

JBird: I think I know exactly where you live.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2007, 09:45:37 PM »

>russian sage

The russian sage seems to bloom FOREVER and the bees work it when everything has dried up.
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Michael Bush
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tillie
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 09:48:50 PM »

I love the bees on Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) hence my new avatar  Wink

I see mine on the Butterfly weed:



On Cleome:



And on my roses:



Linda T in Atlanta
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Cindi
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2007, 11:23:56 PM »

Linda, you pictures did not show up on the forum.  Only the titles of the plants.  What happened?  Best of the best days.  Cindi

P.S.  A couple of more plants to add to the list of great bee plants are:

Giant white fleece flower   (Persicaria polymorpha)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)

I am sure this list could be continued by many people.


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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
abejaruco
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2007, 12:28:06 AM »

This is a late and drought blooming plant, the cynara humilis, the artichoke wild version. It is a yearly plant, so, no problem with cold winters. It is nice, humble, "rustic-artistic", medicinal, seeds for birds, nectar for bees. A "chollo".

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reinbeau
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2007, 07:52:20 AM »

Linda, you pictures did not show up on the forum.  Only the titles of the plants.  What happened?  Best of the best days.  Cindi

P.S.  A couple of more plants to add to the list of great bee plants are:

Giant white fleece flower   (Persicaria polymorpha)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)

I am sure this list could be continued by many people.
Linda's pictures did show up for me (they're gorgeous!).  Just a tip - sometimes when someone has posted a picture and you can't see it, pretend you're going to reply to the post by quoting it.  You'll see the URL for the picture.  Then just hit your 'back' button on your browser.  Nine times out of ten the picture will be there when you get back to the forum.  Don't know why, but it works for me  grin

If it doesn't work, they quote reply again, copy and past the URL in a new tab or window if you really want to see the pic. 
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- Ann, A Gardening Beek -  ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2007, 10:29:34 AM »

Linda, you pictures did not show up on the forum.  Only the titles of the plants.  What happened?  Best of the best days.  Cindi

P.S.  A couple of more plants to add to the list of great bee plants are:

Giant white fleece flower   (Persicaria polymorpha)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum)

I am sure this list could be continued by many people.
Linda's pictures did show up for me (they're gorgeous!).  Just a tip - sometimes when someone has posted a picture and you can't see it, pretend you're going to reply to the post by quoting it.  You'll see the URL for the picture.  Then just hit your 'back' button on your browser.  Nine times out of ten the picture will be there when you get back to the forum.  Don't know why, but it works for me  grin

If it doesn't work, they quote reply again, copy and past the URL in a new tab or window if you really want to see the pic. 

Ann, right on!!!  Gonna have to try that later, off to make kids ready for school.  Have the best day.  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
Cindi
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2007, 10:30:44 AM »

Abejaruco, that is astounding, what a beautiful plant, reminds me of a sea anenome.  Best of the day.  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
tillie
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2007, 09:41:21 PM »

I'm curious about hyssop and will plant it this year - amazing how many members of the mint family are attractive to bees.

Just for fun, on this page, the word for hyssop is written in 43 languages:

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Hyss_off.html

Linda T ready to plant in the dirt in Atlanta
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reinbeau
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« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2007, 10:21:43 PM »

Awesome site, Tillie, I've shared it with my herb society friends.  Thanx!
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- Ann, A Gardening Beek -  ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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Cindi
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« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2007, 10:44:02 PM »

Linda, well I kind of think that most members of the mint family are beloved by the bees.  I have spearamint, peppermint, they love it when it is flowering.  There are a myriad of mint family members.

It would also appear that many of the medicinal herbs the bees love too, maybe they know something that we know too.  Plant anise hyssop.  Cannot toute this plant enough.  Its family is very large as well.

If you get a chance, get some catnip seed.  The bees love this flower too, and the cats love the entire plant, but especially the flower buds. 

Get some borage and blue tansy, (phacelia tanacetifolia).  YOur bees will appreciate you more than you could ever imagine.  The bloom all summer and when they set seed during the summer and these germinate, the nectar flow continues for a long time. 

I still have honey from last year that has not begun to granulate.  I suspect that the flowers that I grew en masse for my girls are ones that do not crystalize too readily.  Still beautiful liquid golden honey.  Narry a sign of any crystals forming.  I like that.  Have a wonderful day.  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 #16 on: March 09, 2007, 02:40:50 AM »

Really the site posted by Tillie is fascinating, I clicked on the Biblic origin of Hissop (I enjoy etymology) and I found a beautiful Granada´s page. Granada is one of the most beautiful trees you can see.
http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Puni_gra.html

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Cindi
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2007, 11:48:32 AM »

Linda, I revisited your post and I see the pictures, they are absolutley beautiful.  The close up shots of bees are a very pleasing sight for the eyes.  Have an awesome day. 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
MrILoveTheAnts
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2007, 02:18:00 PM »

Everyone is posting all their wonderful bee pictures, I though I'd join in.
This was a warm day last week and the bees were finding pollen somewhere. The wind kept causing them to crash against the hive when trying to land. 
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Cindi
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« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2007, 10:09:15 AM »

mrIlovetheants, what a beautiful picture, got more?  I think that people should put their pics on the forum, it brightens up the day and takes us to different parts of the world, in the human eye.  The imagination takes it further.  Beautiful.  Have a wonderful and beauty of a day.  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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