I am writing a little retroactively for this bloom record. (Blogging unfortunately fell to the bottom of my list as I spent the end of June preparing for a family trip to the Midwest.) June 29th saw the wind-down of the blackberry bloom, arguably western Oregon’s biggest nectar flow. The good news was that native forage plants such as fireweed, ocean spray, snowberry, native roses, blue elderberry, and Douglas spirea, were beginning to bloom.
The months following blackberry bloom can present pollinators with a nectar dearth. Landscape and agricultural plantings of blooming trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants can really help bolster bees’ winter stores and offer diverse nutritional sources to support their health. Some examples of non-native forage plants blooming in July in my neighborhood include clovers, borage, lavender, elephant garlic, and chives. Our valley’s uninvited guest, the infamous meadow knapweed, was also beginning to bloom at the end of June.
Now would be a good time to visit your local gardens and nurseries to see what’s blooming and consider adding it to your landscape. While most of us don’t hold sway over large acreages, our planting choices can still make a difference in the success of honey bee colonies. (As always, be vigilant and ask your local plant dealers whether or not they or their wholesalers treat their stock with pesticides. Buy bee-safe seeds and plants!)