Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bloomin Into Summer

We are finally getting over the drought of flowers where I am. Milkweeds have been pretty much the only thing flowering out in the garden, besides what's in the vegetable garden. All the plants that I consider to be the major honey crops of summer currently have buds on them if they haven't already started opening slightly. Assorted Liatris, several types of Joe Pye Weed, Clethera alnifolia, an early blooming Ironweed, Button Bush, Cup Plant, Purple Coneflowers, the shorter varieties of the Perennial Sunflowers, and Anise Hyssop are all approaching their bloom time. Many of these will bloom at their peak for only a week and get replaced by something else which is both a good strategy and makes for a good garden. 

Out in the new prairie garden I've planted I'm getting lots of colors. First off using a red mulch was a brilliant idea as it accents the yellow Coreopsis, and orange Butterfly Weed beautify. Some plants that aren't doing so great are the yellow Coneflower, the second species of Coreopsis, and the Purple Prairie Clover. I really don't know what happened to these, it's like something keeps nibbling them to the ground. Hopefully they're just establishing themselves and will pop back next year. The Ozark Coneflowers have leaves but I doubt I'll see any flowers off of them this year.

One of my goals with all this planting has been to help my honeybees through the summer as well as being environmentally conscious. It's a lot harder to do both as environmentalists view the nonnative honeybee's foraging as stealing food from our native bees. I argue though that honeybees are easily distracted by food sources and a diverse garden should offer plenty in the way of food for everything. This is a serious issue with certain plants who can only be pollinated by a single species of indigenous bee, but I don't have any of those plants here. Even if next year my honeybees are hogging all the Milkweed and Anise Hyssop there are other things flowering here for native bees to work.

Traditionally I've tried to harvest honey around the same time the Joe Pye Weeds bloom. I think this usually happens in late July. I may do another video on it but I feel the previous one I did was a good production. Bee Chat Harvesting Honey.