Wildflower mix. Thoughts on the species

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PeaBee 

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A farmer who has some of my bees on his OSR has just asked me if I want to leave some behind when the OSR finished as he is drilling a few ha of this mix.
  • 25% ARCHIBAL SLENDER RED FESCUE,
  • 5% RIDU HARD FESCUE,
  • 12% BELLEAIRE CHEWINGS FESCUE,
  • 25% EVORA S.S.M.G,
  • 5% CRESTED DOGSTAIL,
  • 2% HIGHLAND BENTGRASS,
  • 3.25% SAINFOIN,
  • 3.5% NARIA VETCH,
  • 3% LEO BIRDS FOOT TREFOIL,
  • 1.5% CORN COCKLE,
  • 3.5% GLOBAL RED CLOVER,
  • 1% CORN FLOWER,
  • 0.25% CORN POPPY,
  • 1% BLACK KNAPWEED,
  • 1% CREEPING BUTTERCUP,
  • 1.25% OXEYE DAISY,
  • 1% RIBWORT PLANTAIN,
  • 1.2% YARROW,
  • 1.2% WILD CARROT,
  • 1% RED CAMPION,
  • 1.25% WHITE CAMPION,
  • 0.25% LADYS BEDSTRAW,
  • 0.1% SALAD BURNET,
  • 0.25% SELFHEAL,
  • 0.5% MUSK MALLOW
  • + Sunflower
Other than clover I am not sure of the forage potential of most of these. Tempted to leave a couple of colonies out of interest. What do people with better botanical knowledge think?
Cheers
PB
 

Dorchop 

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It looks like mostly grass . The bees do like some of those wild flowers though Sunflowers of course but they won't flower for a bit. Oxeye daisy and knapweed probably some of the others too
 

viridens 

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That's an imitation wild meadow mix, and it seems quite late to be drilling, and not helped by the dry spell. Some of it won't germinate until next spring. Meadows like this are usually a long term project., and you won't get many flowers if its used for grazing.
 
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PeaBee 

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That's an imitation wild meadow mix, and it seems quite late to be drilling, and not helped by the dry spring. Some of it won't germinate until next spring. Meadows like this are usually a long term project. You won't get many flowers if its used for grazing.
It's not going to be grazed just cut late summer. Its conservation (prob stewardship) land.
 

Newbeeneil 

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My landlord planted about 10 acres of bird mix and 5 acres of.bee mix within about 1/2 mile of my hives last year. The bird mix is blooming at the moment. Just wish it wasn’t so dry!!!


Edit. My picture shows the bird mix in April.
 
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elainemary 

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Of your list, the best for honeybees are Sainfoin, birdsfoot trefoil, knapweed and cornflower. Bumblebees like clover and quite a few of the other species so other pollinators will benefit.
Wildflowers not on the list which honeybees like include meadow vetchling , bugle, cats ear, hawkbit, meadow geranium, devils bit scabious, field scabious.
The grasses look suitable for agricultural vs ideal meadow grasses. In a meadow you want a wider variety of older species that are less ‘thuggish’. No yellow rattle which is essential for keeping grass in balance with flowers and for long term development of a meadow.
So overall would say not a perfect combination for honeybees, but will offer some nectar, not sure how successful without the yellow rattle though. Farmers don’t like yellow rattle as reduces the grasses crop, if they’re growing it for sileage.
 

B+. 

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The farmer who owns the land I have one of my apiaries on sowed a 5m wildflower border around some of his fields a few years ago. None of it came up.
 

Robert Denny 

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Of your list, the best for honeybees are Sainfoin, birdsfoot trefoil, knapweed and cornflower. Bumblebees like clover and quite a few of the other species so other pollinators will benefit.
Wildflowers not on the list which honeybees like include meadow vetchling , bugle, cats ear, hawkbit, meadow geranium, devils bit scabious, field scabious.
The grasses look suitable for agricultural vs ideal meadow grasses. In a meadow you want a wider variety of older species that are less ‘thuggish’. No yellow rattle which is essential for keeping grass in balance with flowers and for long term development of a meadow.
So overall would say not a perfect combination for honeybees, but will offer some nectar, not sure how successful without the yellow rattle though. Farmers don’t like yellow rattle as reduces the grasses crop, if they’re growing it for sileage.
Meadow grasses are of course agricultural.
Yellow Rattle can be very useful in “wild flower” meadows but is by no means essential. If they are growing it for silage, it will be fertilised and cut well before flowering and seeding so the very aggressive grasses will dominate.
 

Crofting Mannie 

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Species mixes are done by % weight and flower seeds are usually smaller & lighter than grass seed. Therefore, although the mix mentioned above is about 25% flowers by weight, it will be 50% (or more) flowers by number of seeds.

I wouldn't be worried about it not being drilled yet. I wouldn't consider planting grass on my ground for another month or so...... But then I've had lying snow the last 2 mornings!
 

Beekeeper Brownie 

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I wouldn't be worried about it not being drilled either, had another frost here last night plus the top inch of cultivated soil is dust currently.

There's such a high percentage inclusion of grasses to carry the wild flower seed out of the drill otherwise it can be hard to so the wild flowers on their own at such a low rate, plus if there's no grass there would not be much bulk in the winter months to provide cover for ground dwelling invertebrates. It's normal for floristically enhanced grass margins to be sown at a rough 80/20 mix, 80% grass and 20% cheaper wild flowers. A lot of wild flower margins take at least a year to establish so it probably will not be a lot of benefit to you leaving hives there for the species it has in it. Within the first year farmers are encouraged to regularly mow these margins to limit fast growing weeds building up and competing with the slower developing species.

If this is a farmer sowing this as a stewardship option, the option their sowing this for is designed to wild pollinators not honey bees and not just 'bees' in general but to include hover flies, moths and butterflies.
 
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oxnatbees 

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Rosybee.com experimented with such mixes and found their honeybee hives almost ignored them, as they look for big solid masses of one flower they can guide other foragers to. Was good for other pollinators for about 1 year. After that the grasses crowded out the flowers. She figured the grass seed content was high to keep costs down.

I've seen honeybees working such field margin strips a couple of times, but those strips were crammed with some tall purple salvia-like flowers I forget the name of.
 

iand 

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The farmer who owns the land I have one of my apiaries on sowed a 5m wildflower border around some of his fields a few years ago. None of it came up.
Similar problem here, they just do not seem to survive without reseeding. They are set up with prescribed plans of action but only the docks seem to do well.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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The problem is, the soil may be too fertile, the grasses go off like a shot and out competes everything else, you need to get things l;ike yellow rattle first which seems to make the playing field more even.
 

Finman 

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One problem is that no such mixture will grow with each other . The mixture has too many species. They will fight with each other from very beginning and there will be few survivors.
And not many bee plants will be seen there. Hay plants will concure the soil.
 
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bigadg 

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My farmer planted herbal leys last year about 15 acres. They are a few hundred yards away from my apiary. Would I be wise to move a few Hives onto the fields {which I think he wants} or let the bee's find them.
 

PeaBee 

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Few hundred yards, sure they will find them. But always worth keeping the land owners happy!
 

holmbee 

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I buy my wild flower seeds from Emorsgate. They make up mixtures that suit different soil types. Also a general mix for wild pollinators - called "Pollen and Nectar Mix". They make up the quantities that you require for the area you wish to seed. Also sell seeds of individual varieties.
Michael
 

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