Plant These For Bees, a display at the Sharon Garden Club by guest speaker and beekeeper Barbara MacPhee. Suggested flowers for pollinators include anise hyssop, rosemary, poppy, bee balm, catmint, coneflower, borage, and thyme. [Photo by Dixie Buckland]
Sharon Garden Club presenter and beekeeper Barbara MacPhee.
Fun honey bee facts from Sharon Garden Club presenter and beekeeper Barbara MacPhee, at our February meeting:
Among honey bees, it’s the worker bees (who are all females) that you see (and hear) collecting nectar and pollen. The males, called drones, maintain the hives.
It takes 1,152 honey bees flying a distance of 112,000 miles, harvesting from 4.5 million flowers, to produce one pound of honey. Now that is impressive, ladies!
In early spring, bees need early-flowering plants like snowdrops, Claytonia and dandelions to support their hives. Forsythia, while a traditional feel-good sign of spring for humans, has zero pollen and zero nectar. Consider replacing one with a pollinator-friendly native shrub like redbud or viburnum.
Later in the season, agastache, clover (yes, in your lawn!) and borage, plus winterberry and American holly, are some of the other plants that honey bees favor.
And my two cents: Think about it: just about everything you and I eat was once a plant, most likely a flowering plant. No pollinators, no food. Are you hungry to support pollinators now?
Winter bud inset in a leaf scar of Rhus typhina, staghorn sumac in Sharon, MA. It looks like the face of a lion, which is how I remembered it for my RI Certified Horticulturist exam. [Photo Copyright 2017 Carol Lundeen].
Miss Twiggy. That’s what my wife has been calling me lately. Our dining room table has practically been crawling with the winter twigs of trees, shrubs, and vines: messy, shedding, needle-dropping deciduous and evergreen winter twigs. I’ve been studying them for six weeks for my RI Certified Horticulturist exam. Why? I’m a nature girl, and I love looking at things up close.
Did you have any idea that a winter twig could be so adorable as the one shown above? Me neither. Until Dr. Susan Gordon taught me how to notice and appreciate the diversity of these things. I want to get so I can tell the winter twig of a glossy false buckthorn from a black cherry as easily as a dalmation from a beagle. I aced both the written and ID portions of my exam Monday night. I’m certifiably certified, so happy there’s so much more to learn, so thankful to everyone who’s helped me, and I can’t wait for the new gardening season!
Carol removes a stump after clearing a tangle of exotic invasive plants on the sloped perimeter of a client’s lawn in Sharon, MA.
Trees and shrubs, vines and weeds getting the best of the perimeter of your yard? Reclaim it! That’s what I did for a client in Sharon, MA, They were getting ready to sell their house, and I wanted to leverage their back yard with an expansive view to a trio of established but hidden ash trees on the edge of the property. So I cut down a few small trees and hacked out their roots, removed lots of exotic invasive plants like multi flora rose, Asian bittersweet and garlic mustard…though the knot weed is still a work in progress.
Carol didn’t let this stump stump her. Her reciprocating saw and pry bar and patience did the trick. She did this to open the view to the large trees in the background. It’s hard to see, but behind the iris is a native Viburnum shrub that had been hidden by overgrowth.