Fall Foraging: Wildflowers Bees Love
Today we look at plants that bees can forage on in the autumn, as well as flowers that can be planted in fall so they blossom in spring or summer.
Different places have a variety of flowers that serve bees well in the autumn climate. Here are some popular flowers that grow well in many climates and draw a buzzing crowd to your garden every time.
It is important that we ensure there are no hungry honeybees in autumn. This can be a tricky season for them since some plants stop flowering early and bees have not gone into full winterized mode yet.
These amazing insects pollinate 90% of wildflowers and are responsible for one of every three bites of food we eat, not to mention the sweet golden honey we all enjoy so much.
We have not been looking after bees as much as we should lately. Humans have caused many of the problems afflicting the bee world, like pesticides, herbicides, monocultures and dwindling habitat often due to land being cleared.
All bees—whether solitary, wild or honeybee—are suffering and facing challenges to their survival. One of the best ways to turn the tide on this is to plant particular wildflowers in your garden so bees can harvest pollen and nectar there until they withdraw to their hive or nesting home for the winter.
Let’s all try to make bees happy this autumn but planting wildflowers or buying some that are already planted in pots for our busy buzzy friends to forage on.
Purple asters, also known as Michaelmas daisies are always a big hit with bees in autumn. Eryngium, Sedum Autumn Joy with its glorious pink flower petals, Caryopteris blue and Caryopteris white last into October, as well as the lush pink petaled Japanese Anemone, Hebes, Wild Ivy and Echinacea.
This 5:40-minute video by Roger Crookes shows visuals of the best plants for bees and other pollinators in all seasons, with quite a few for the September and October time frame:
Think about planting some of these plants in autumn for spring and summer:
Cornflower – In decline due to herbicides, these bright electric blue flowers are pollen and nectar rich and are said to turn honey slightly blue before it is harvested from the honeycomb.
Common Poppy – Considered a weed in agricultural circles, this vivid pollen-rich flower is a beauty without much pollen. These plants produce 400 flowers, but each only lasts for a day.
Corn Marigold – Bright yellow voluptuous flower heads that are rich in nectar, these are easy to plant, bloom quickly and are fast growing.
Others are the Cowslip, which has fragrant nectar-laden blooms in April and May, Meadow Cranesbill, a geranium type of flower rich in nectar, and Musk Mallow with pretty pink flowers. Last but not least, Oxeye Daisy is great in wild borders and has a rich and rare reputation of “glowing in the dark” since they are also known as ‘Moon Daisy.’
Please do what you can for all bees in the fall. Make some nectar and pollen rich plants available and plant others in fall for spring and summer. This way you've got your local bees covered.
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