Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Like Christmas Time

Boxes keep arriving full of plants for me to plant. Since I wrote my own book on "Native Plants for Honeybees" I figured I'd take my own advice and install so real treasures. That's not to say I didn't research at all, but I personally haven't some of them, and many of the good ones sadly I don't have photographs of. 

These all just arrived from Shooting Star Nursery:

Basswood, Tilia americana, also called American Linden Tree. This is actually a common street tree in some neighborhoods, but I haven't seen any of it growing around here. I know someone who planted one but it didn't make it through the winter which is odd because they are hardy. This is one of those great summer nectar sources for honeybees to enjoy. The flowers are said to have a sweet distinctive scent (see Mitchell and Webb).
Fall Color is Red.
Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum, is another good summer-ish nectar plant. The flowers are bell shaped, like those of blueberries and heathers, and occur along horizontal "strands" almost like exploding fireworks which bees have fairly easy access to. It's said to be a high quality honey.
Fall Color is Red, with lines of yellow or blond seed pods all over.

Black Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica, is a massive tree that grows in the bog and wetlands down south. This species, I've read, can tolerate growing in average moisture and should be somewhat drought tolerant onces it's established. Tupelo honey is said to be one of the best tasting in the world, and while I doubt one tree will be enough to get that pure tupelo honey, I look forward to adding it's flavor to the typical wildflower mix my bees produce. Great nectar plant.
Fall Color is Red.

Clove Currant, Ribes odoratum, which I believe is a synonymy with Ribes aureum. Anywho it's an early blooming shrub with wonderful fragrant yellow flowers. Honeybees use it for both nectar and pollen, however it does have seperate male and female plants so you don't necessarily get both on one plant. Females that get pollinated will make berries that I read are tasty both for humans and the birds. 

Purple Flowering Raspberry, Rudus odoratus, which has brilliant 2" red/magenta/purple flowers worthy of any rose garden, that go on to produce edible raspberries. I'm scratching the back of my head wondering why this isn't planted more often? And why isn't is more widely available? What's more, why haven't growers gone nuts breeding the flower traits into other varieties? At the very least you'd expect them to breed in the lack of prickers along the stem wouldn't you? Raspberries are good nectar and pollen plants for honeybees.

Prairie Rose, Rosa setigera, is a climbing or tailing rose with a vigorous growing habit. Native roses are often labeled as aggressive spreading both by seeds and by runner/root suckers. Well I can't argue the seed aspect but that's easily solved by dead heading. As for sending out new stems along the root system, in truth this varies from plant to plant and can even be bread out of them. Roses only produce pollen for honeybees, and if the bee doesn't have to dredge a labyrinth of 50+ petals all the better.

Blood Root, Sanguinaria canadensis, which is a native wildflower that only produced pollen. It's also one that I went a little nuts with and apparently ordered it from several other nurseries as well.

Tiny-Headed Blazing Star, Liatris microcephala, which is just to add to my collection of Liatris species. Liatris produce okay amounts of nectar but I don't believe it's ever collected in high enough quantities for it's only honey type. I find this strange though because I know honeybees love this plant, and there are defiantly fiends that are glowing with Liatris when they bloom. I suspect there's too much else flowering in the same fields when they are to narrow it down.