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Heather 

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I contacted 'Gardening Direct' and suggested they identify in their catalogue which plants are useful to bees. If they had a bee pic next to the species for sale, it may just push people to buy appropriate plants. There are so many doubles and trebles being pushed these days as the latest wonder - but no use for the bees.
They are very possibly going to incorporate it in to the next brochure:cheers2:.

Maybe we could all get local garden centres to think this way too.-

Now on to Thompson and Morgan...:driving:
Heather
 

hedgerow pete 

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biggest problem with that is they mark up for bumble bees and not honey there is a shorter tongue and there for a differant type of plants needed this is why buddlia's are always at the top of everyones list but of no use unless they are globus bludia
 

Chris J 

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So what plants do people think are the best for our gardens?
 
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hedgerow pete 

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now theres a thread starter question, this list on its own is massive so lets stick with the basics, first honey bees have short tongues so we want small short neck flowers or dirty great big ones, and next on the list is flower type one row of flat petals is called a first or a single, add another row and it is a second or a double flower bees dont do doubles as there is no centre flower necter part for them so stick with singles and as many flowers as posible or realy big flowers
 

Heather 

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Absolutely Pete, which is why we need to educate the flower 'producers' to label correctly. They must be told about the difference in bee requirements. If we don't educate- they wont learn :)

Whenever I give a talk, I ram home about single flowers and that doubles etc are no use to bees. Gardeners must have both in the garden if they are to help honey bees
 

Chris J 

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Can you post up say some names of acceptable ones and the accompanying unacceptable versions please.
 

Heather 

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A quick few tonight (flowers)-
The single open faced daisy, bacopa, tagetes, crocus,.Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers - michaelmas daisy, asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Bees need a lot of pollen and trees are a good source of food. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good.

The BBKA has leaflets on bee friendly trees and shrubs. We pay enough to them - use them!

Unacceptable. Daffodil, all doubles e.g. begonias, lupin, any flower that has a deep nectar source
I'll be back with more.......
 
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steve1958 

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Shame that Daffodil is no good.
Tons of pollen inside them.

Thanks Heather, very useful information :)
 

Heather 

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And never put daffodils in a vase with other type of flower- it will see them off!
 

Heather 

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ok- a few more- have these in my garden and they are used by honey bees.

Aconitum , Agastache, ,Hollyhock, Alyssum, Anchusa, Japanese anemone, Kidney vetch, Aquilegia,Thrift,, Aubrieta, Borage Campanula, Cornflower Greater knapweed, Godetia, Clarkia, Cosmos, Cotoneaster, Globe Artichoke, Doronicum, Globe Thistle, Erigeron, Californian poppy, Geranium
Geum, Hellebores, Liatris , Candytuft, White deadnettle, Poached egg plant, Honeysuckle, Honesty, Catmint, Oriental poppy, Rosemary, Salvia, Sedum, Thyme. Bacopa In hanging baskets till frost)
 

MJBee 

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Wot no heather Heather?:) Lots of lavender in my garden plus spring and autumn crocus.
Mike
 

peteinwilts 

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if the hives are in fields, you need to be careful what will not run riot.

I have the additional 'problem' that the fields are used for grazing horses, silage and hay.

I downloaded a list of bee friendly plants and gave it to the other half to cross off what plants were toxic to animals...
 

Chris J 

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The reason I asked is that I have a large strip of grass maybe 3 acres that I mow. The only use this land gets is dogs are walked around it. I had the idea I would plant the middle of the strip with some nice old meadow flowers. (save on the mowing and benefit the bees)
I looked on the interweb and was shocked how expensive the price of seeds were.
Any thoughts?
 

Heather 

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scrounge your own seed from dying flower heads- works well, much more satisfying and cheap!!
 

milkermel 

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camellias are another early good source of food for bees so i was told, Luckily for me I work in a plant nursery so scrounged 6 plants all of the single variety last year.

Thing to think about is the fact that people creating labels books etc are not necessarily plant experts. rather than put in the wrong info it is better leave things out. ie when I am filling out plant descriptions onto database if the supplier has stated that it is a single petalled camellia I darent say good for bees. Very difficult Need someone to create a list of plant and type eg argyanthumum citronelle - good/bad. Then get this put on as great for honey bees.

I have to put my hand up - always though buddliegh was good for bees, wont be picking up an arm full of throw outs of those now!
 

lazybee 

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The reason I asked is that I have a large strip of grass maybe 3 acres that I mow. The only use this land gets is dogs are walked around it. I had the idea I would plant the middle of the strip with some nice old meadow flowers. (save on the mowing and benefit the bees)
I looked on the interweb and was shocked how expensive the price of seeds were.
Any thoughts?
Hello Chris J, Just a thought. When you say mow. Do you mean with a tractor? If so......Why don't you sow some lucerne/alphalpha If you use a small bailer you can sell it to horse and goat owners for a good price, and you can get at least two cuts a year.

Lazybee
 

peteinwilts 

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The reason I asked is that I have a large strip of grass maybe 3 acres that I mow. The only use this land gets is dogs are walked around it. I had the idea I would plant the middle of the strip with some nice old meadow flowers. (save on the mowing and benefit the bees)
I looked on the interweb and was shocked how expensive the price of seeds were.
Any thoughts?
http://www.molesseeds.co.uk/ is a good place to buy meadow flowers and sell mixes depending on your conditions. I had an email from them regarding bee freindly mixes.. i'll dig it out.
When I enquired about seeds, but they recomended that the fields were ploughed before sowing. Athough I have a plague of buttercups (will be interesting to see how the bees get on with them. Although Buttercups are not a lot of use for nectar, walking through a field can leave you bright yellow with pollen early in the year!), I also have an abundance of clover which I don't really want ploughed up.
 

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