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Tag Archives | nectar

READ: “Sweet treats: bid for some rare Fortnum & Mason honey”

Interview with Steve Benbow, the founder of London Honey Company

What could we be doing for bees in London?

‘I am often asked about what planting individuals could establish for bees across the capital. Honey bees especially love mature trees as a nectar source. Limes and acacias are particularly important but sycamores, chestnuts, hawthorns and blackthorns are good too, however although the planting of these is an essential thing, they do not provide instant bee fodder.’

What should we be planting?

‘I recommend early pollen sources such as crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells which are excellent early pollen yielders, pollen is rich in protein and fantastic for young bee growth. The autumn is also a key time, with ivy and buddleia providing late nectar flows, allowing the colony to build up for the barren months ahead. London is 65% green space but I believe there could be greater nectar sources and safe havens.’

What if I don’t have a garden?

‘If, like me, you have no garden or roof terrace, then I’d like to introduce to you “guerilla gardening”. Have you ever thought that your local roundabout looked a little shabby or a local patch of wasteland needs beautifying? If so, just grab some wild flower seeds and scatter.  We have just started selling bee bombs here at Bee HQ. When soaked they resemble a soil hand grenade and are fantastic as they contain everything you will need to start your own little wild flower patch – just soak and chuck.

Anything else?

‘You could also persuade your local park or open space to reduce or stop their use of pesticide – the cumulative affect on bees is now well proven and catastrophic. There is a real move to make London free of these terrors, like Paris already is, and the sooner it happens the better. Persuading local authorities to make everything less manicured is also important, not only for bees but other wildlife such as butterflies. Long grasses are a haven and can also look wonderful. I passed Blackheath common the other morning and it had the most amazing white clover covering it… two days later it was fully trimmed! Finally, it’s been a terrible year for honey production in the UK so where possible try and buy local or British honey.’ Sonya Barber

For info about Steve, see thelondonhoneycompany.co.uk

[Click here to read the original article via Time Out London]

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PHOTO: HoneyLovers in Russia ?

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Thank you so much to everyone who came out today for our 2ND ANNUAL WAX SYMPOSIUM!!
And thank you 
Roxana Illuminated Perfume for bee-ing our featured guest ? So fun!!!

[click here to view more photos]

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ARTICLE: California Native Plants that Bees Can’t Resist 
by Bob Sussman – matilijanursery.com 

“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice they are not.” -Yogi Berra 

There are tons of books, articles on the web, and scientific info. that will tell you what plants attract bees and why. Some info. will tell you to plant flowers that have purple, yellow, or white flowers to draw more bees to the garden. Well some purple flowers attract more than others and bees aren’t supposed to see red yet some red flowering plants attract plenty of bees. Truth is most flowering plants do indeed attract bees since most plants are pollenated by bees. 

In the bee attraction business sometimes theory and practice diverge. Some flowers draw more bees than others and you can see it, those are the ones you want for your garden. You want the flowers that cause the bees to go “beemanic”. Here’s a list of the big “5” bee attractants at the nursery, this may not jibe with scientific theory but in practice it works.
 

Number 5
Abutilon palmeri-a desert native and a member of the mallow family, it gets covered with orange- gold poppy colored flowers. They flower from spring through fall require full sun and are about 3’ x 4’. They seem to benefit for an annual trimming. Check these out.

Number 4 
Galvezia – Island Snapdragon- there are a few species and selections of Galvezia but they all come from either the Channel Islands off the coast of California or Cedros Island off the coast of Mexico. The Galvezia’s vary in size but are roughly 3’x3’, generally grow in semi-shade to full sun, flower from spring through fall. Their red tube flowers also attract hummingbirds. The Galviezia in the picture is Galvezia ‘Gran Canon’ and it flowers than most of the other verities, while they attract several types of bees this is the only one that would sit still long enough for me to focus the camera. 
 

Number 3
Sphaeralcea-Desert Mallows grow throughout the southwest and Mexico. They can range in color from red to light pink. While there is some variation in size, roughly 4’ x 4’ will be a pretty close approximation of what it will do in your garden. We grow mostly the orange flowering verity at the nursery we also have the pink flowering verity growing too and they seem to prefer the pink to the orange.
 

Number 2
Romenya coulteri-Matilija Poppy- The Matilija poppy has the largest flowers of any poppy in the poppy family. It can be a large perennial shrub and its native range is from Monterey County to Baja Mexico growing sporatically about 30+/- inland from the Pacific Ocean. They are spring flowering but with a bit of watering the flowering can be extended through summer.

Number 1
Monardella odoratissima-Mountain Mint-Mountain Beebalm-is a small growing perennial with purple to lavender flowers and a very strong minty fragrance. It’s got to be a big nectar and pollen producer because they attract all kinds of bees and butterflies. In nature they grow from California to Washington and inland as far as Utah. They flower from spring through fall if you occasionally deadhead – chop back the old flowers and leggy growth. 
 

I know there are lots of lists of plants that attract bees but the bees at our nursery fly by many of those to land, collect nectar, and pollen from these. Why? I couldn’t tell you the scientific reason this is only the observation, the bees know and they aren’t saying!

To see the bees performing live you can check out our YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/matilija8225?feature=results_main

Or even better come down to the nursery, pop the truck, and take some of these home for your garden and watch the beeeeeeeeessss!

(For more information go to www.matilijanursery.com)

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Bees Thai Basil - 

Thai Basil is another honey bee approved plant for your garden! It is a type of sweet basil (native to Southeast Asia) and has “purple-flushed, lance-like leaves with a sweet licorice scent”(1). When it is blooming you’ll see bees busily buzzing around it and drinking nectar all day long!

In general, bees seem to gravitate towards blue and purple flowers, and Thai Basil is a great example of this! Click here to view a list of other bee-friendly plants!

[Thank you thewhimsicalgardener.com for letting us post your beautiful photos!]

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VIDEO: Share the Buzz via Whole Foods Market

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Today at our monthly HoneyLove Workshop we taught people how to “Bee Proactive” by building a swarm box to put out on their property! 

@ Santa Monica Public Library Fairview Branch – 06/09/12

Click here to download the handout from our workshop!

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Photos from this weekend ? 

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Mason Beehives [via meetyouat]

VIDEO: How to build a Mason bee home
http://youtu.be/qvD9oIk9fpA

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CHARLES BUTLER: (1560–1647), sometimes called the Father of English Beekeeping, was a logician, grammarist, author, minister (Vicar of Wootton St Lawrence, near Basingstoke, England), and an influential beekeeper. [via wikipedia]
 

“It wasn’t until 1586 that it was recognized that the head of the honey bee colony is a female queen. This news was popularized by Charles Butler… prior to that, it was assumed the head of the colony must be a male – a ‘king’. Even William Shakespeare, in Henry V, refers to honey bees living in a kingdom, with a king as ruler.” [via buzzaboutbees.net]
 

“Soon after Queen Elizabeth I died, her beekeeper, Charles Butler, published The Feminine Monarchie (1609).  On the surface, the book reflected a dominant philosophy of seventeenth-century England- that is, nature was a model for human virtue.  Butler wrote of the bees: ‘In their labour and order at home and abroad they are so admirable that they may be a pattern unto men both of one and of the other’ The bees were loyal to the queen, refusing any type of anarchy or oligarchy.  They labored incessantly for the good of the commonwealth.  Therefore, according to historian Kevin Sharpe, ‘The keeping of bees was a pastime that was a lesson in statecraft and also one in personal conduct.’

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