Perennial Plants For Next Year and Attracting Bees

Discussion in 'General Gardening' started by blueblood, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Was allowed to take a truck load of perennials from a lady in town who wanted to split her flowers. My wife and I planted several plants all over the property and then took the rest to the back where I have a flower patch going for the bees. One of my new pleasant finds is Hyssop, wow! Smells like licorice. So darn great smelling. I am drying some of it to get the seeds for more planting near the bee yard. We strategically placed some near our windows to catch a drift of it next spring/summer. It's hard to be excited about planting half dormant plants but it will pay off big time next spring.

    I took some lemon balm out to the bee yard because I did not want it invading my front yard. One of my bees was prompt at rushing into the plant the very moment I was within 20 feet of the hives. It did not occur to me until later that they are obviously attracted to lemon scent.

    I know for sure I am going to have a bunch of butterfly bushes planted next season. I was thrilled at the sight of the pollinator activity on a purple one that lady had in her side yard. There were various butterfly species, bumbles, little bees, honey bees, everything flying around like it was a street market. Love it!!

    If anyone has had a tough time finding hyssop, I would be willing to send you a few seed heads in an envelope if you want. Just PM me with your address. Here is a picture of the some of the hyssop we planted. It is obviously going down for the count but still smells awesome!

    mms_picture (9).jpg
     
  2. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This year I have a big clump of anise hyssop blooming right next to several Russian sage plants. Both plants are literally COVERED all day now with honeybees, bumbelbees, butterflies, tiny bees and moths and all KINDs of pollinators! It's unbelievable how they all love the two plants. You'd think the plants would run out of nectar, but the 'buffet table' is mobbed all day long. :D
     

  3. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So you know exactly what I am talking about Omie, I don't know where hyssop has been all my life, ha! Yes, just like a buffet table...I could sit and watch that activity for hours.
     
  4. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,743
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Perfect thread. I got ready to pin a note about hyssop on my bulletin board and found last year's note - it said to buy "borage". And the year before: bee balm (got that this year when my nucs were coming in). I have to cut down at least one oak tree, but while the chainsaw is out my boxwoods are going. To be replaced with flowering shrubs, probably abelia. I love my vitex bush, planning on finding another one, but it can't go next to the foundation, will probably off set it off the corner of my house, to hide trash cans behind. They get quite large, but not tall enough to get in the power lines. (power line planning will go into the final location choice.) My giant white butterfly bush needs a healthy pruning at least. When I get the boxwoods out I'll be able to see if it is affecting my foundation. I suspect it might be. But the butterflies and bees just love it.

    So to add to my list I want borage and hyssop and butterfly weed ( a texas seed distributor has those in their catalog, the smell is heavenly and bees just love them.)
    I also have blue mist flower that gets heavy coverage from butterflies, bees like it, but the butterflies adore it. All of the sage and salvia family are popular. For some reason my oregano didn't bloom this year, or it did it this spring when I wasn't looking. My basil is being worked well right now. Most herbs are much loved by the bees. And my wildflowers are still blooming, I'll be replanting for summer losses and clearing weed areas to plant wildflowers and crimson clover. I bought pounds of seed last year. I store my seeds in a crisper drawer in the fridge, having outgrown the refrigerator door. And I'll plant broccoli - the last bit never gets picked, and the bees cheerfully make sure I have new seed every spring.

    Happy gardening!
    Gypsi
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    :goodpost:--not really. GREAT POSTS! They remind one that beekeeping is more than just taking care of bugs. It's also making the world a more beautiful place in which to live.
     
  6. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Right on Ef! Gypsi, I will look up some those varieties you listed. I did also obtain some bee balm from this lady along with a ton of purple and pink cones flowers. I can see how you would have to prune the butterfly bush. Her bush had turned into a tree basically after 15 years. I will let mine go in the back field.

    A fella stopped by yesterday to pick up some honey and smelled some of the hyssop. He said if you can somehow make the honey taste like that smells, I would like to reserve four pounds for next year. Wouldn't be awesome if we could get the honey to have a licorice tone? I am sure someone out there has made a varietal honey that has that flavor. It is surely my favorite new flower smell this year.
     
  7. Marbees

    Marbees Member

    Messages:
    983
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
  8. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Marbees! Awesome, I might just try that...ironically, I just bought that book at 1/2 priced books a month or so ago. Maybe I should read my books and I would have figured this out already..ha!
     
  9. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Vitex, Chaste Tree, or Texas Lilac( I've heard it called all three) seems to be universally loved by every species of bee, wasp, butterfly and hummingbird in the area. We bought one from a nursery last year for $39.97 then found them for $14.97 at Home Depot and bought 3 more. Went to a Home & Garden show and got a leafless twig for free which grew like crazy and soon caught up with the rest. They started blooming in early June, grew and bloomed some more and are still blooming. I didn't realize the many species of bees we had until I stood and watched for almost an hour one day!
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Honeybee tongues are not long enough to take advantage of bee balm....but bumbebees, hummingbirds, and butterflies love it. For honeybees, try some sedum for masses of Fall flowers that they just go nuts over. Also Russian sage (very aromatic as well). Borage is loved by various bees, but there are times when my honeybees ignore it, preferring other flowers....then they come back to it.
     
  11. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Asters add color in the fall. The honey from Asters is strong, but at least it's a fall bloomer. Don't forget milkweed. That will ensure Monarchs.
    I know this thread is about perennials, but an annual to consider is Tithonia. Torch, resembling sunflowers, is a tall variety while other varieties are much shorter and more manageable. Tithonia will attract everything including hummingbirds, bumblebees, honeybees, and butterflies. Now that's a show for you! It grows easily from seed and you get a lot of bang for your buck. http://www.howstuffworks.com/tithonia-mexican-sunflower.htm
    A side note: my hyssop bloomed this year, but due to drought there was no nectar. It has been so dry, even the only coneflowers to survive have been the ones I have periodically watered. Tough decisions had to be made about what got water and what didn't. There isn't much forage for the wildlife this year, in my yard. :(
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,743
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I bought aster seed and planted it twice, but couldn't get it to germinate. It was New England Aster - from Stock seed company in Nebraska. Might be I didn't water enough, it germinated and burned up. We had a patch of drought during April, and my watering was sporadic.

    Tithonia sounds good for the apiary itself, but if it is much like a sunflower, could get to be a nuisance in my main flowerbed. Since the apiary basically has bees, a couple of sheds, etc, I don't try to keep lawn back there. I had it sown with wildflowers, which did well in the spring but were hard to keep watered afterward. The sunflowers are still blooming out there though. With Tithonia being drought hardy, it stands a fair chance. Any idea who carries the seeds?
     
  13. Minz

    Minz Member

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Mustad Lavender. Hearty after established, bees will work it all day long. Rub it on your hands after gardening and it will make them smell nice and ease drying. My wife says it will make small boys grow breasts but I have not seen that documented. I got mine from Parks seeds about 10 years ago, planted another row this year.
     
  14. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Minz--:hi:Welcome to the bee forum where, given the opportunity, in addition to talking about bees, we like to joke around and laugh.
    After that introduction to a new poster, let me ask:
    Ten years ago were you a small boy?
    Did Parks seeds sell breasts then? :lol::rolling::rotfl:.
    Forgive me if I overstepped my bounds while you are still a newcomer.
     
  15. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,743
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Not on the perennial list, but on the "emergency bee forage" list when my scarlet clover quit blooming and died off, I went to duh -da-dumda-dum Home Depot. I bought 5 pentas, half a dozen of what I used to call Vinca - it's an annual, - now they call it bright eyes - and some moss rose in a variety of colors. I just came from the organic garden where I was weeding, and these flowers surround it. Watched a bee look for a flower to visit. She by passed all of these and hit the cantaloupe bloom. Then she discovered me - the hive mover - and I had to run for the house.

    Is there a list somewhere on what plants are totally a waste of money to feed pollinators?
     
  16. Minz

    Minz Member

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Efmesch, that is funny. It really made more sense when I typed it. Many on this forum probably have better English skills than I do! BTW, I was never a ‘small boy’.
    Vinca here grows over just about everything as a perennial groundcover. I liked the Vinca minor how it choked off the bank by the highway and put in some Vinca major (it gets to about 18â€) it is becoming a problem. I also put in about a dozen butterfly bushes and the bees love them but now they are growing all through my blueberries. I have trouble killing them off.
     
  17. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Forget the English skills. When we get the chance to laugh, we try not to pass it up.
    Just keep in mind, it's never laughing at you, it's a desire to laugh WITH you. :grin:
     
  18. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Nice, I have some good ideas now for 2013. Okay, so I took my oldest daughter to the BMV so she could take her driver's test and get her much anticipated license...she passed by the way :grin:. Anyway, I waited outside by a very pretty purple flowering plant I have seen two times this week in other places and the bees and other pollinators were ALL OVER it. Does anyone know what the heck it is? And what is the bee that is 2-1/2 times bigger than that honey bee there but smaller than a bummble by far?
    purple flower bees.jpg
     
  19. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,743
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    That looks like blue salvia to me. No idea on the bee, I can't see it well enough. Blue salvia can be started from seed, most of mine didn't take but I didn't plant it til July, still had a couple of plants come up, and it is perennial. Bees adore it.
     
  20. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I was thinking Salvia/sage.