The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Unconventional nectary plants

Bee on squash blossom

Those of you who overthink everything (like me) probaby plant nectaries for your bees.  Yet, despite what I read, our bees seem to prefer the flowers that aren't listed in books.

Pollinator on oreganoWild pollinators are supposed to love members of the aster family, but our Echinacea is mostly bare.  On the other hand, the squash patch is humming so loudly I was almost afraid to stick my hand in there to pluck dinner. 

No one mentions it, but our asparagus is a hotbed of tiny pollinators in the spring and early summer.  And when I was down in South Carolina, I discovered the holy grail of the local wild pollinator contingent --- oregano.

Which unconventional nectary plants do you see abuzz with life right now?

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock well hydrated, happy, and healthy.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Of course squash, in fact a few days ago, I saw a squash beetle on one of the blossoms and squished the whole blossom by clapping my hands together on it. Wouldn't you know a poor honey bee was in there and started buzzing around when I clapped. I'm not normally afraid of bees, but I dropped that one seriously quick!

The other wierd one here is ONION flower! I never in a million years would havet thought that one would be an attractor.

Comment by Steph Thu Jul 14 12:34:51 2011

In early June the lavender was a mass of bees. My granddaughter (14) took some amazing photos, she was fascinated with all the activity going on!

My Egyptian onions are shooting up already! Still haven't planted the second row. Tomorrow!

Comment by Debbi Thu Jul 14 16:42:50 2011

Steph --- Onion flowers --- fascinating!

Debbi --- I've considered planting lavender for the bees because I've heard they love it (and the nectar's supposed to make great honey.) But it's only marginally hardy here, so I haven't managed it yet. So glad your onions are working for you!

Comment by anna Thu Jul 14 18:30:19 2011
All the honey bees on my corn sounds like a dirt bike idling.
Comment by Don G Thu Jul 14 23:59:57 2011
I should have mentioned that this year I'd noticed for the first time that all kinds of insects seemed to be attracted to the male flowers at the top of the sweet corn. So much for corn being wind-pollinated! (Well, corn probably still is wind-pollinated since I didn't see any of the bees visiting the female flowers, but I have since read that the insects can knock enough pollen loose that it falls down onto the female flowers.)
Comment by anna Fri Jul 15 07:37:13 2011

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