Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption
 


       Downsizer Forum Index -> The Apiary
Cathryn

Planting around the apiary

Just got to put apiary again! I love saying that, apiary, especially as it had a proper fence and gate on it.

Anyway, I want to plant some nice nectar and pollen rich plants around it, particulalry things which will be in flower early and late in the season.

I'm not planning to do this but just how many snowdrops, mahonia's, aconites, willows would an average bee colony need to sustain it?
Tavascarow

Things like protection from strong winds & having a nearby water source will do more good than planting. If there's one plant that IMHO is a life saver for bees as well as a lot of other wildlife it's ivy.
Cathryn

It ticks all those boxes (and the protection from badgers box) but I was curious about the other quantities.

Isn't there something about ivy crystallising and becoming difficult for the bees to use it? Ready access to water rings a bell.
wellington womble

The bees love comfrey here. I cut it less than I ought to to let it flower and keep them happy. I can dig you some up and send it if you like?
Jamanda

It ticks all those boxes (and the protection from badgers box) but I was curious about the other quantities.

Isn't there something about ivy crystallising and becoming difficult for the bees to use it? Ready access to water rings a bell.


Rape does that. Never heard of ivy doing it.
Cathryn

The bees love comfrey here. I cut it less than I ought to to let it flower and keep them happy. I can dig you some up and send it if you like?


That would be great. Smile
Jamanda

Flowering currants. Tavascarow

It ticks all those boxes (and the protection from badgers box) but I was curious about the other quantities.

Isn't there something about ivy crystallising and becoming difficult for the bees to use it? Ready access to water rings a bell.

Rape does that. Never heard of ivy doing it.
Yes Ivy does crystallise in the comb, but then so do most honey come winter.
& yes ready access to water is important, as I said above.
On the more sunny winter days a close source of water will save a lot of energy & bee lives.
OtleyLad

Borage is a bee favourite too. Although an annual it seeds itself readily. You get the bonus of pretty blue flowers to add to your salads. mochyn

How about Hellebores for early? Not sure how bees do on them but they have polle. And Sedums for late: I often see ours coverd in bees in September. And then the single Michaelmas daisies... I'll have a think for some more. Lorrainelovesplants

Rosemary - flowers all year here, evergreen, tough as old boots and rabbit proof. Cathryn

Good ideas! The plants will need to be tough as the ground is full of old bricks. I have the BBKA list as well.

No ones been able to answer the question about quantities. I suppose it is a bit of how long is a piece of string question. I can't garden this year but I will enjoy planting this area up.
Treacodactyl

Gorse is meant to be good for bees, although worth checking. It does flower very early, by March its in full flower round here. Lorrainelovesplants

individual things like snowdrops are a waste of time, I think. Think height too - willows will feed a lot of bees as will Rosemary, heathers & plants with loads of flowers. Im planting loads of rosemary this year with heather underneath, and Im leaving some of the goat willow around. We have loads of ivy here.
I think if you aim for long season, but with some variety you will do well to hedge your bets with something in flower.
Tavascarow

Good ideas! The plants will need to be tough as the ground is full of old bricks. I have the BBKA list as well.

No ones been able to answer the question about quantities. I suppose it is a bit of how long is a piece of string question. I can't garden this year but I will enjoy planting this area up. They will get most of their provisions from the fields & hedgerows in the neighbourhood.
What you provide will be just a bonus.
Providing plants that flower out of season (early & late) like ivy (which is also incredibly reliable & prolific), crocus, hellebores are probably better than main season plants when there is plenty in the wild anyway.
Don't forget pollen bearers as well.
Early pollen is more important than nectar.
The bees will hopefully have enough honey but pollen doesn't keep as well & they can't raise new bees without it.
Plants like willows & hazel provide abundant amounts but negligible amounts of nectar.
Jamanda

Actually things that flower in June are good. There's a bit of a gap in the natural flowering then, earthyvirgo

Dad's heathers are full of bees today.

I think the hives a re a couple of fields away, so they come quite a way to feast.

EV
Cathryn

Gorse is meant to be good for bees, although worth checking. It does flower very early, by March its in full flower round here.

When gorse is in flower, kissing is in season. It's always in flower here but I might put some nearer the hives.

I'm making a list of early pollen producing plants.
Jamanda

Cotoneaster and pyracanthus for the June gap. Mistress Rose

I was going to suggest height too. Perhaps surround with hazel (or willow which is good for pollen, but makes too much of itself) with some late flowers, such as Michealmas daisy and sedum. As Tavascarow said, they will forage quite a way, at least up to 2 miles and a bit more for a good flow of rape or something. yummersetter

I've just come back from a trip to Highgrove - the most wonderful, sensitively designed garden if someone wants to treat you to a ticket for a tour. There is a lot of planting with consideration for wildlife there, and the flowers were thronged with bees and butterflies today.
The most popular were the hundreds of scented hyacinths - yes, the type that come in bowls at Christmas - in dark jewel colours. Also scilla, chionodoxa and anemone blanda by the thousand. The perfume throughout the 14 acre garden was heavenly and it was mainly from bulbs, there must have been millions of scented daffodils naturalised under the trees.
Cathryn

I must remember, we could detour to Highgrove quite easily. If only the bulbs were not open when the lambs are being born here.

We have lots and lots of wild daffodils and primroses but not in the direction the bees have gone in so far.

We are both quite allergic to hyacinth. I would avoid planting them even in the garden but the apiary isn't close to the house.
yummersetter

sorry for the double posting -it says 'edit or delete' on the button but I can't find how to delete. sean

Tis gone. You can't delete once someone else has replied, only edit. yummersetter

thank you - good to learn BahamaMama

Cerinthe is another one the bees like (Honeywort). Very easy to grow from seed, it seeds itself around but is well behaved and not invasive. Cathryn

I've spotted a problem, ground elder, everywhere. It will flower and be useful but it will also swamp most things I plant and since the ground is full of half bricks and knobs of cement and the air is full of bees it's not going to be weeded out. Sad

Comfrey and bread and butter plant have been suggested as they will stand a chance of competing. Early things might be alright as well.
       Downsizer Forum Index -> The Apiary
Page 1 of 1
Home Home Home Home Home