We just had our wildflower festival at Catskill Native Nursery, and the owner, Francis Groeters, gave a pretty impressive talk on native pollinators (as opposed to the nonnative honeybees). One of his powerpoint slides – how I love scientists – simply said “Observe.” His point was to observe how the plants in your garden create interactions with nature, particularly with regard to pollination, but generally as well.
I’ve been working on a list of good bee-plants, because I like having them around the garden to pollinate my food crops (tomatoes, watermelons) as quickly as possible. But I’m aware I need a longer list.
May: the bees love blueberry and pieris flowers, which are very early; in later May the apple trees seem to be their favorite.
June: lindens, chokeberries (photinia), diervilla (=bush-honeysuckle).
July/August: agastache, pycnanthemum, and all other mints, though they never approach my ironically named beebalms.
August/September: turtleheads (chelone). Watching the bees squeeze into the flowers is very entertaining.