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Attracting Pollinators

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Attracting Pollinators

Post  meatburner on 1/20/2014, 10:16 am

What are some recommendations for flowers/herbs to attract beneficials.  I am thinking more on the smaller sized plants considering the density of the plants so as not to take up too much space in the garden.  Thanks everyone!
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  camprn on 1/20/2014, 10:43 am

@meatburner wrote:What are some recommendations for flowers/herbs to attract beneficials.  I am thinking more on the smaller sized plants considering the density of the plants so as not to take up too much space in the garden.  Thanks everyone!
There are a few previous threads about bees and pollinators that have some good information. You may find those threads using the forum search feature.

http://sbj.net/main.asp?SectionID=-5&SubsectionID=-27&GUID=8074830303

http://www.getactivetoday.com/springfield-mo/?id=help-the-bees-plant-for-pollinators-20130604&print=y

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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  meatburner on 1/20/2014, 4:38 pm

Thanks camprn as there is a lot of information out there.  I was more looking for some smaller plants, physically smaller plant for saving space.  I know like alyssum and small zinnia plants will help some in the garden but looking for other smaller plants that will still attract the beneficials and provide nectar and pollen if possible.  I don't have room for bushes and large tiered sections to dedicate without loosing a lot of garden space.  I live in town and only have a backyard garden.  Using a couple of extra containers is certainly doable though.  Thanks again.
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pollinators

Post  landarch on 1/20/2014, 4:56 pm

The bees and butterflies love my purple coneflowers...look for a dwarf variety like "Kim's Knee High".  Bees also love Walkers Low Catmint...it is a low mounding woody perennial, grey-green leaves with lavender flowers, but it spreads to about 3' wide.  It would be perfect if you have a nearby location that is not technically a part of your garden's plantable space.
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  camprn on 1/20/2014, 5:00 pm

http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm

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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/20/2014, 5:00 pm

If I had to pick only one herb/flower to attract Beneficial's it would be Borage!

one planted in a 4x4 bed for us attracts enough Beneficial's

one thing we noticed it does LOVE compost....so if you want it to stay on the smaller size just don't feed it.....the Borage stayed on the smaller size in our SFG beds but grew taller then I am in our new tier SFG bed out front, but...we loaded this bed with lots of mushroom compost under the MM because this bed is tiered....

you could plant it like in the middle of a square of lettuce or spinach and it should not take up to much space.....its more taller then it is wide.....not to bushy....sometimes it needs a little support from a stick because it can get heavy with all the bee's on it.....

happy gardening
rose
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  camprn on 1/20/2014, 5:42 pm

I try to keep my borage out of my SFG because it readily sows itself all over the place. Another thing many pollinators like are any alium. Leek blooms, garlic chive, and they go crazy for thyme, which is also planted out of the SFG bed because it likes to spread.

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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  slimbolen99 on 1/20/2014, 6:23 pm

Just remember that many hybrids and crosses do not make pollen and/or nectar.  Try and stay with the 'regular' varieties if you can.  Zinnias and cone flowers grow great around here (Kansas).  Last year, the bees and flies (flies are pollinators too!) were all over the asters we had.  You might also try some pansies and snapdragons; we will be trying those this year too.
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  camprn on 1/20/2014, 7:16 pm

Pollinators are especially attracted to clumps or a mass planting of flowers. Also, it's important to keep the garden beneficial critter friendly. Please, always read and follow all label direction for garden products, especially pesticides.

http://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/act-today-2/plant-a-bee-garden/

I only mow my yard about 5 times a year and let it turn to a sort of meadow. I have amongst the grass all native or naturalized dandelions, white clover, buttercups, violets, ajuga, indian paintbrush, wild spring asters, wild milkweed, etc. On the edges in the flower gardens and near small hedges I allow some early and late wild goldenrod, wild fall asters, and quite a few wild flowering plants I have no idea what they are but the bees really love them, so I leave them until they go to seed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollinator

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  Goosegirl on 1/20/2014, 7:44 pm

@camprn wrote:I try to keep my borage out of my SFG because it readily sows itself all over the place. Another thing many pollinators like are any alium. Leek blooms, garlic chive, and they go crazy for thyme, which is also planted out of the SFG bed because it likes to spread.

I was thoroughly disappointed with borage. I planted it next to my SFG's and only 1 seed germinated. Then, it did not reseed itself, so my next season was devoid of borage. I will try it one more time, but if it does not take off this year I will give up and plant more zinnias!

GG
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  camprn on 1/20/2014, 7:50 pm

Many pollinators have short tongues so unless the bee can get into the flower bloom, flowers like snapdragons may not be ideal for attracting pollinators.

Did you know, bees don't see flowers like we do?

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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  littlejo on 1/20/2014, 8:09 pm

I bought some comfrey, the old one that blooms(not the hybrid that does not bloom or put on seeds) The bees love the blue flowers, and you can use the leaves as fertilizer or can put in compost bin. I saw today that my comfrey has come up already.
Jo
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 1:44 am

Where did you find the comfrey? I haven't seen it turn up wherever I've looked for it.
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/21/2014, 1:54 am

Marc..... I found comfrey here at http://www.groworganic.com/hh-comfrey-true.html

it says:

 Multi-purpose healing, permaculture and animal food plant. True comfrey is the original medicinal herb as detailed in all the ancient literature. Vivid purple, dangling flowers.

hope that helps
Rose  Very Happy
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  camprn on 1/21/2014, 6:44 am

Comfrey is a wonderful plant, however it is advisable to plant it outside of the SFG.  Very Happy 
A friend gave me one root and now I have it everywhere.

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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  littlejo on 1/21/2014, 9:12 am

Marc, I started out ordering seeds, and I couldn't get them to sprout. Then I ordered the roots from Horizon herbs. They will not guarantee the seeds. They are a bit pricey, but, as Camp said, 1 plant turns into lots.
I first planted in my SFG, but moved them out of the beds, for they have deep roots and will bring up the minerals into the leaves and make a great fertilizer, plus if you get the true Comfrey, they will bloom for the bees!
Jo
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 3:29 pm

@FamilyGardening wrote:Marc..... I found comfrey here at http://www.groworganic.com/hh-comfrey-true.html

it says:

 Multi-purpose healing, permaculture and animal food plant. True comfrey is the original medicinal herb as detailed in all the ancient literature. Vivid purple, dangling flowers.

hope that helps
Rose  Very Happy

Thanks! I've read it's great for use in compost and a bunch of other things ... maybe bringing minerals up from deep in the soil? Will have to re-read. One of those plants that seems to get universal recommendation (except for the relentlessly spreading part, like camprn says!). I may try to get some and scatter it out back on the wild hillside. Aggressive roots might actually be a positive there, helping secure the soil.
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 3:31 pm

@littlejo wrote:Marc, I started out ordering seeds, and I couldn't get them to sprout. Then I ordered the roots from Horizon herbs. They will not guarantee the seeds. They are a bit pricey, but, as Camp said, 1 plant turns into lots.
I first planted in my SFG, but moved them out of the beds, for they have deep roots and will bring up the minerals into the leaves and make a great fertilizer, plus if you get the true Comfrey, they will bloom for the bees!
Jo

The blooming and getting bees sounds like another great thing. Do you recall if they bloom early, mid, or late, or continuously? More and more, I'm starting to think about keeping some things in bloom all the time so I can attract and keep more bees.
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 3:32 pm

@camprn wrote:Comfrey is a wonderful plant, however it is advisable to plant it outside of the SFG.  Very Happy 
A friend gave me one root and now I have it everywhere.

Good to know. I think I saw a video on it noting that it can take a year or more to get rid of even as a best-case scenario, so I definitely won't put it in any beds.
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 3:44 pm

Holy cow, 39 cents a seed, and it "qualifies for $11.99 flat rate shipping in the Continental U.S." at the Grow Organic site. I'm sure they'll ship a single packet for cheaper, though. Still, there doesn't seem to be a lot of competition to sell comfrey seeds, despite the consistent rave reviews they get by even very-experienced horticulture types.

I wonder if that's because they don't germinate well, or something like that?
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  littlejo on 1/21/2014, 5:05 pm

Marc, It is coming up already in the SFG bed so will have more to move when I go to plant spring crops. We don't have much winter so it has been growing all winter without even dying down since I moved it. It blooms for me as soon as the weather warms some, and was still blooming in the fall when I moved it, so I guess it blooms in fairly warm weather.
I did no good with the seed they sent, I think there was only abt 10 seed in the pk.
If there is no regulations forbiding me from sending you a few roots, I'm willing to do that, just for the shipping. I don't know abt. Oregon laws. I know that Calif. has those regs.
Jo
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/21/2014, 7:24 pm

Thank you very much, Jo. I have my master gardener's class on Thursday, and I will ask the instructors then.

If the seeds you got didn't grow any comfrey for you, how did you originally get it going in the first place?
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  littlejo on 1/21/2014, 7:35 pm

I ordered the roots, after the seeds failed. They had a sale the end of summer, about 3 roots for 7 dollars. The shipping was more than the roots. But, they had just time to come up before fall came here.
Jo
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  FamilyGardening on 1/21/2014, 11:32 pm

Marc....amazon has comfrey seeds for sale as well, and I noticed some companies if you buy three packages of seeds from them they will ship them for free...

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_13?url=search-alias%3Dlawngarden&field-keywords=comfrey+seeds&sprefix=comfrey+seeds%2Caps%2C221&rh=n%3A2972638011%2Ck%3Acomfrey+seeds

hope that helps
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Re: Attracting Pollinators

Post  camprn on 1/22/2014, 6:33 am

I would guess you will be able to find a comfrey plant from another gardener or at a local plant sale in the spring. I know they sell the live plants at my local nursery.

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