It was near the end of July in 2008 when I first thought about catering to bees and pollinators. At that time there were lots of annuals in bloom and bees were everywhere.
Now, at the end of June 2009, not many annuals are in bloom right now and probably half of the wintersown perennials may not even bloom this season. What IS blooming now are several large hostas (like the lovely blue Elegans shown here serving a very busy bee) and drifts of white clover. (I mentioned in a previous post that the white clover started blooming very early this year and, as I predicted based on that, it's turning out to be a very dry season. But at least the temps don't get much into the 80s.)
I was worried that there wasn't much to attract bees this early (prior to the zins blooming), but I was pleasantly surprised by 2 new perennials I planted LAST year. The Johnson Blue geranium started blooming about 6 weeks ago and is going strong. It was a small, basketball-sized mound last year. This year it is nearly 6 feet across and 3 feet tall and loaded with blooms and more buds! It was given to me by my mother who decided it wasn't doing much and wanted to get rid of it. Woohoo! The pic shows a hungry honeybee on a blossom. The plant is usually full of honeybees, solitary bees, hover/sweat bees, and other little darty things.
Another blue wonder is the Walker's Low catmint which has been blooming even LONGER than the geranium and gets just as much traffic.
So my fears were groundless. The bees are finding forage and even this afternoon I see more perennial goodness coming on for them. My ancient (8 year old) Munstead lavender is just starting to open. There is also color on the buds of a pink garden phlox. And while the emerging daylillies (several blooms over the past 2 days) and constant zonal geraniums don't ever seem to attract anything, they are providing nice pops of color.
So, many new developments. Mostly good. One bad, though. I've had to start picking #@(#&* Japanese beetles off the budding zins and the hollyhocks (which should just be labeled beetle browse!).
Now, don't leave yet. Click over to the Vegetable Page for some SURPRISING updates! (Go ahead. Click. You know you want too... ;-D )