FLOWERS FOR SPRING, SUMMER AND FALL

 Having flowers in bloom for each season is very important in the lifecycle of honey bees. In early spring the hive is becoming active and winter food stores may be in short supply. In summer the colonies are working overtime raising their young and building a substantial population which requires vast quantities of food. In fall, as nature is beginning to wind down, the bees are forced to forage on a dwindling supply of flowers to build enough food reserves to supply the needs of the hive through the cold winter months.  PLANTING FLOWERS FOR EACH SEASON OF BLOOM INSURES A DIVERSE FOOD SUPPLY FOR HONEY BEES! You might be wondering... What makes a flower attractive to a honey bee?  Well, honey bees have a short "tongue" called a proboscis that they use to ingest the nectar from flowers.  Some flowers are too deep for their proboscis to reach, or the  nectar is hard for the bee to harvest. For this reason honey bees prefer shallower, flatter blooms. The honey bee carries the nectar back to the hive to produce honey, which is a source of carbohydrates for the entire colony..... Ok! I get it... but what about the pollen? What is that all about?? .... Well , the bee and flower have developed a relationship over thousands of years. The flower produces a reward for the bee, to attract her to the pollen. As the bee acquires the nectar some of the pollen is collected , but some gets stuck on the bees body. As the bee goes about finding more nectar it delivers pollen from one plant to another and greatly aids in the plants reproduction....  Ok, but what do they do with the pollen they collect? ... The bee brings some of the pollen back to the hive, where it is used as a source of food for the colony... it is a source of protein. So together the bee collects carbohydrates and protein for the colony from the flowers, and helps the plants reproduce by providing pollination services.  A relationship between two organisms where both benefit as the result is known as "mutualism" by scientists.

SPRING FLOWERING

Perennial Alyssum
Perennial Alyssum

Perennial Alyssum (Alyssum saxatile 'Compactum') Flowers in early May

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Rock Cress
Rock Cress

Rock cress (Aubrieta deltoidea) Low growing , spring blooming perennial.

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Catmint
Catmint

Catmint (Nepeta species) Perennial Catmint. The variety 'Walkers low' is very useful in the landscape and very attractive to honey bees, it flowers from May till late August.

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Perennial Alyssum
Perennial Alyssum

Perennial Alyssum (Alyssum saxatile 'Compactum') Flowers in early May

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SUMMER FLOWERING

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

Blanket Flower ( Gaillardia aristata) A medium sized perennial for sunny locations. Flowers from June till late September

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Anise Hyssop
Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop ( Agastache foeniculum) A large perennial for sunny spots. Very attractive to honey bees. Flowers from Late July till late August

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English Lavender
English Lavender

English Lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia) A perennial herb that grows on a semi woody stem. Flowers in June and July. Well drained, full sun locations work well for this plant.

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Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

Blanket Flower ( Gaillardia aristata) A medium sized perennial for sunny locations. Flowers from June till late September

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AUTUMN FLOWERING

Chrysanthemum / Garden Mum
Chrysanthemum / Garden Mum

Chrysanthemum/ Garden Mum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium) A medium sized perennial that does best in full sun. Flowers in late August to mid October

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Aster species
Aster species

There are several species of Aster that provide great forage for honey bees. Woods Asters work well, but many others do too! In general they grow best in full sun, but can tolerate poorer quality soils.

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Black Eye Susan
Black Eye Susan

Black Eye Susan ( Rudbeckia hitra) Medium sized plant that grows well in poorer quality soils. Very drought tolerant. Full sun to part sun. Blooms from July to late August

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Chrysanthemum / Garden Mum
Chrysanthemum / Garden Mum

Chrysanthemum/ Garden Mum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium) A medium sized perennial that does best in full sun. Flowers in late August to mid October

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