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plants with a long flowering period that bumblebees love

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Total Posts: 13

Joined 2014-03-25

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As you’d of seen in my other topics,I have been trying to help the bumblebees for the last two years and also have plenty of land(garden, allotment and churchyard) to test flower plants to see how much the bumblebees liked them,how long they flowered for and to see how easy or difficult to grow and cultivate.
To flowers I am looking for must be favourite of the bumblebees ,flower for at least three months and be easy to grow.here are the ones I have found so far.
Winter Heathers     flowers. Dec. - April
Lenten rose.            ”        Jan-  April
Common Comfrey     ”        March-May
Lungwort.              ”        March-May
Bugle.                  ”        April-June
Cranebill.                ”        April-August
Cornflower(wild variety)  ”    June -heavy frost
Clover(as an annual)      ”    July-October
Himalayan honeysuckle.  ”    July -September
Lavatera bush.            ”      ”  -    “

I will be testing fifteen other varieties this year ,the three I have high hopes for are Cosms ,Rosemary and Gillardia goblin dwarf.I will let you know the results later in the year.
I have attached three photos of what the bumblebees where mainly feeding on in the Bristol area in March
,Lenten rose ,Common comfrey and Lungwort.
Hope you enjoyed Jacka

     

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Total Posts: 8

Joined 2014-04-17

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Lamium Album - White Deadnettle (sometimes known as the Bee Nettle because Bumble Bees love it so much).  I had a large clump last year and it was covered in bumble bees all day for possibly 5 months.

It is between 50 and 100 cm tall and throws out a root structure rather like stinging nettles do so it is easy to split and start new clumps.  Dies down in winter and grows from ground level again starting early spring.  Slightly fluffy soft leaves.

Cathy

     
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Total Posts: 13

Joined 2014-03-25

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HI Cathy,that sounds like a super plant to go into our wild flower meadow in the churchyard.I hope to be able to report fully on the churchyard very soon, waiting for latest photos to be put on the village web site.Will explain all in the next topic.
Thank you Jacka

     
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Total Posts: 7

Joined 2014-07-26

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Hi Jacka

Your list is great, thanks. I have a number of bee friendly plants too and the list is growing. I have just purchased a new Salix for Spring pollen. However for long flowering plants; there is a plant called Cerinthe major purpurescens which self seeds very easily in a sunny free draining position. It will flower from March/April through to summer. I did not document the months exactly this year but have allowed an entire area around a gingko tree to grow and this provides a constant supply of nectar and pollen for bees.

One to try if it helps, I am in Wilts climate wise.

Debbie