Best shrubs for nectar and pollen

Table of shrubs for honey bees Month Name Latin Nectar & pollen Length of flowering January Heath Erica carnea N/P Jan- Mar February Japanese quince Chaenomeles spp. N/P Feb – Jun Honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima N/P Feb – Apr Cornelian cherry Cornus mas N/P Feb – Apr March Gorse Ulex europeaus N/P AYR Gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa… Read more »

Single and double flowers

Dog rose

These two dahlias illustrate the difference between a single flower (left) and a double flower (right), the latter having many more petals.   The archetypal flower reads from outside in – sepals (often green), then petals, male stamen and finally the central female parts. In the single dahlia stamens with their yellow pollen which is… Read more »

Rabbit-proof honey bee plants

Ice plant

What do you do if your garden planting is already restricted by having to look for rabbit proof plants and you want to provide honey bee fodder? Roy Lancaster’s book ‘Perfect Plant, Perfect Place’ is my bible for tricky planting conditions.  He invariably offers an attractive and unusual variety even if you’re bored of the… Read more »

Early spring forage for honey bees

Corylus contorta

My local beekeeper association has kindly sent round a note reminding beginner beekeepers to check food stocks in their hives as his own bees are taking a substantial amount of fondant at the moment.  The weather has been mild and sunny (in the south west anyway) and the bees have been flying.  It’s fantastic to… Read more »


Flowering ivy

Ivy is one of the most important honey bee plants because it is in flower when very little else is.  The image shows ivy flowers on the left, the ‘wispy’ yellow rather than smooth satellites.  Only mature ivy produces flowers (and the blue-black berry fruits).  It can take 10 years for ivy to mature but… Read more »