The Silphium perfoliatum began blooming last week or so. These impressive plants were humming with bees early on this overcast morning. Measuring around eight feet last summer, I think they may be even taller this year!
Also blooming this week is my single specimen of Echinops ritro, reportedly an amazing nectar producer. I’ve been struggling against slugs and moles for two years and was very gratified to finally see a few blooms on my beleaguered plant.
The knapweed continues to provide the bulk of the nectar and pollen coming in on my end of the valley. The lavenders, while on the wane, are still very popular with the bumblebees. My spring-sown borage is winding down. I’m on my second or third year of growing borage, and they’ve begun to throw late-season volunteers that may yet bloom before frost. This photo shows (from the background forward) a borage plant setting seed, young coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), and a borage volunteer lately sprung up.
A garden in a neighboring valley was replete with rough field mint and birdsfoot trefoil (background). Pennyroyal, a short plant @6″, filled another friend’s otherwise dusty horse paddocks and was keeping their bees quite busy. The fireweed is putting out its very last blossoms, while Queen Anne’s lace and sweet peas dress up the dry fields and roadsides without offering much in the way of bee forage.
I live in the hills west of Fern Ridge. My bees are bringing in dark yellow/orange pollen–don’t know what it is.
Good question…anybody out there have an idea? I’ve seen a little goldenrod and some rudbeckias that have golden pollen, but I’m not seeing a lot of that color coming into my hives. Most of my pollen is pale grey/white from the meadow knapweed. It might be worth a drive or hike around your neighborhood to find out!
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