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Flowers for the bees

Old bee skep (hive)I can easily imagine how a beehive would be an essential part of a cottager's garden since they probably had no other source of concentrated sugar.  Due to the ubiquity of bees in the cottage garden, Christopher Lloyd's The Cottage Garden contains a whole section on bee-attracting plants.

Christopher Lloyd recites the common wisdom that the mint and aster families are bee favorites, but goes on to add several other species that are a must for bee habitat.  Crocuses and willows are on his list as good sources of early spring pollen, allowing the hive to quickly build up their numbers so that they'll be ready for the summer rush.  Speaking of the summer rush, Hydrangea villosa, basswood, borage, fennel, thyme, sage, clematis, and white clover are all given pride of place as bee-friendly summer flowers.  Finally, Christopher Lloyd notes that fall-blooming Sedums are important nectar-providers.

I tend to overlook flowers in the garden, but will have to consider adding some of these top bee plants to nooks and crannies over the next few years.

This post is part of our Cottage Garden lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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