As a beekeeper, I feel it is my duty to provide healthy forage for my bees. I’ve had a passion for flowers and bees for as long as I can remember. I love that my two favorite things complement one another so beautifully…
This week’s Feature Flower, the Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) was a much needed addition to our early spring bee forage. (Ok, and maybe it had a little something to do with the fact that this beauty has stunning steel-blue pollen!)
Siberian Squill is extremely cold hardy, blooming as far north as USDA hardiness zone 2. These bulbs are planted 3-5 inches deep in mid to late fall, about one month before your last frost date. They make a wonderful addition to your lawn, due to their extremely early bloom time. They naturalize beautifully, so make sure you give them a permanent home!
Wait six weeks after the flowers have bloomed to cut back/mow down the foliage. These plants need time to store up energy before going dormant.
Height: 3-6 inches tall
Bloom Time: March-April
Light: full sun
Hardiness: zone 2-8
March is a very challenging time for our honeybees. As the temperatures rise, the bees are ready to begin foraging, yet the nectar and pollen sources are slim. Our maple and willow trees are extremely helpful, but I wanted more. Adding hundreds of Siberian Squill bulbs, as well as Glory of the Snow bulbs, to our lawn provided much needed nectar and pollen for not only our honey bees, but our native pollinators.
As you can see, my little ladies look fabulous in their blue jeans!
Our motto is simple…
“Plant a Flower, Save a Bee”
Happy 1st day of Spring!
Our pollinators are currently in decline, due to loss of habitat. The application of pesticides is another contributing factor. 1/3 of the food we eat is thanks to these amazing creatures…
It is our job to care for them!
To celebrate this beautiful season, here are some steps you can take to support your local pollinators…
Just think of the amazing impact we could have if everyone took one little step towards pollinator protection.
Our motto is simple….Plant a Flower, Save a Bee!
We all need a little sunshine right about now, so this week’s Feature Flower is…the Sunflower!
Sunflowers are outstanding choices for honey bees and local pollinators. They are effortless to grow from seed and make a stunning late summer-fall feature in any garden. Although I have many favorite sunflower varieties, let’s focus on my top choice when planting for the pollinators… the Lemon Queen Sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
Lemon Queen Sunflowers are a must for any gardener wanting to help out the local pollinators. These bright yellow beauties have a rich brown center and bloom from summer to frost. Lemon Queen sunflowers kick off their bloom with one main 7” flower. The plant will then continue with numerous (smaller) secondary blooms.
Height: 5’-7’ tall
Bloom Color:bright yellow
Bloom Time: summer-frost
Light: full sun
Due to root sensitivity, I always directly sow my sunflower seeds 2 weeks after my last frost date. (May 15). I continue to sow seeds weekly, until the end of June. This provides a much longer forage time for our sweet bees and local pollinators.
Some of my other favorite sunflower varieties are:
-Dwarf Elves Blend
-Dwarf Teddy Bear
Note: I order my sunflower varieties from Botanical Interests
Our motto is simple…
“Plant a Flower, Save a Bee”!
All photography belongs to Indigo Acres Apiary.
Chives are an outstanding choice for your local pollinators. They are effortless to grow from seed and make a beautiful border plant. Considering I have two favorites, I thought I would share both: Common Chives (Allium schoeonoprasum) and Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum).
Common Chives are another a super choice for any ! This edible, perennial herb adds late spring/early summer color to your landscape or . These chives also make a thick and tidy boarder choice. Common chives are hardy in USDA zones 4-8.
Bloom Color: pinkish-purple
Bloom Time: spring
Light: full sun/part shade.
Garlic Chives are worth the long wait! When the summer flowers are fading, these beauties are just getting started. What a perfect way to extent your garden blooms for your local pollinators! Garlic chives are hardy in USDA zones 3-9.
Bloom Color: white
Bloom Time: late sum-fall
Light: full sun/part shade.
*I sow both chive varieties outside, about 6 weeks before my average last frost date.
Our motto is simple… “Plant a flower, save a bee”! 💚 Roda
Note: We order both chive varieties from Botanical Interests
All photos belong to Indigo Acres Apiary
Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is one of my favorite perennial herbs to grow from seed. These plants are loaded with purple, nectar-rich flowers, beginning mid-summer. Hyssop makes a beautiful feature in any garden and is stunning when mass planted. The hyssop plants in our gardens and meadows are always buzzing with bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
This hardy perennial herb is native to the U.S. Hyssop is drought tolerant and grows on woody stems that are loaded with long leafy spikes and filled with tiny flowers.
Hyssop has a sweet scent, with leaves that have a warm, slightly bitter taste. Use the leaves and some honey from your local beekeeper to make tea.
I start my hyssop seeds indoors, 6 weeks before my average last frost date. (May 15 -zone 5b)
Bloom Color: Lavender-Blue
Bloom Time: Summer
Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
As garden catalogs continue to fill your mailbox, make sure you add hyssop to your wish list!
Note: All of my hyssop seeds come from Botanical Interests
Happy Seed Starting!
Planting a pollinator garden is a wonderful gift for the bees. Considering they pollinate 1/3 of the food we eat, planting bee friendly flowers is the least we can do to give back. If you are wondering where to start and what to plant, borage is always on the top of my list!
Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual herb that is loved by bees and other beneficial insects for its pale, runny nectar. These beautiful flowers are abundant from late spring to late fall, making it a perfect choice to support the bees during a late summer nectar dearth. Borage is one of the last flowers blooming in our pollinator gardens, when the fall frost begins to arrive.
This annual herb grows easily from seed. There is no need to start borage indoors. Sow it directly outdoors, 1-2 weeks before your average last frost date. Borage self-seeds prolifically, so make sure you plant it where you really want it!
Borage has many human benefits as well:
•The edible flowers can be used to decorate cakes, candies and summer salads.
•Freeze the flowers in ice cubes to add to summer drinks.
•Cook young borage leaves and stems to add to soups and salads. (Borage has a cucumber-like taste.)
•Use the leaves for an herbal tea.
Bloom Color: Mainly blue, but pink may be observed.
Bloom Time: June-September
Light: Full sun to part shade
Note: I purchase all of my borage seeds from Botanical Interests.
Our motto is simple: “Plant a Flower, Save a Bee!”
Happy planting! Roda
As much as I love to talk about my sweet bees, today I want to share how you can help your local butterflies by planting a larval host garden.
When people share with me what they are planting for their local pollinators, one of the first plants listed is the butterfly bush (buddleia davidii). Although this plant is beautiful and a wonderful nectar source, it is considered invasive in many areas.
If you choose to plant a butterfly bush in your garden, I highly recommend planting it in a container. You can also purchase a sterile cultivator. These plants produce a minimal amount of seeds compared to the non-sterile varieties.
More importantly, the butterfly bush is NOT a larval host plant. Insects require a host plant for reproduction. The butterfly offspring needs to be able to feed on the leaves of native species for survival.
Host Plant Recommendations:
Here are just a few wonderful host plants that you can add to your gardens for the butterflies:
Note: If you are looking to bring monarchs to your backyard gardens, plant a variety of milkweeds. Milkweed is the ONLY host plant for the monarch butterfly.
💚 Note: I purchase my milkweed seeds from Botanical Interests
Spring is just around the corner!
It is never too early to start planning for this year’s gardening season.
If you have a passion for butterflies, check out our Monarch note card set in our online shop!