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bower June 17, 2019 08:29 PM

Pollinator Week
Seems like a thing to do!

I am looking for more early flowers for my garden. Shrubs would be best but the moose really don't care, and the hares don't either. They chew down whatever I plant. I have loads of flowers from midseason to late but the early days are so sparse I am just letting dandelions grow in desperation. :no: What other flowers do you grow that will bloom early dandelion/daffodil time?

GrowingCoastal June 17, 2019 09:58 PM

Wallflowers bloom fairly early. They are over here, now. Rabbits would love these added to your garden!
Flowering Quince Japonica also bloom early. Pretty sure the moose would approve.

bower June 24, 2019 09:02 AM

Thanks, Coastal! :) I did a google for wallflowers and they look good! Onto the wish list for next year.

My friend brought some Sweet Woodruff from her farm which is blooming like mad already, too. Just hoping I can find the right spot for it, which failed when I tried to grow it years ago. I thought it was shade loving, but maybe not so much. Or in this cloudy climate, the shade lovers get what they need in "full sun". :roll:

GrowingCoastal June 24, 2019 12:06 PM

One of the first shrubs to bloom out here is the low 'sweet box' or Himalayan Box. It has a lovely light scent and only grows to about 2 ft. How about something like St John's Wort?

bower June 24, 2019 04:01 PM

The Wort we do have around, but it's not an early bloomer here. Actually as of today (warm) it looks like a bunch of normally later things are about to bolt anyway. Not surprising with the crazy cold weather.

I'm not sure if boxwood is hardy enough for us. Florists do love it... Of course as with other shrubbery, it it grows two feet tall that'll be 2 inches after the rabbits find out! :lol:

Labradors2 June 24, 2019 10:26 PM

The first (non-bulb) flowers to bloom in my garden are the Pulmonaria. I don't have a lot of shade, but I like them so much that I grow them in the sun and they look great in the spring. (Not so great in the heat of summer unless I remember to keep them watered.) I love the look of the leaves, even when they are not in flower.

Pasque flowers are beautiful. They come in mauve and white, and the seed pods are interesting (like those of clematis).
Primroses are obvious.
Bleeding Hearts are gorgeous, but they need shade too. I have some Dutchmen's Britches, much shorter, and related to Bleeding Hearts. They are so sweet, but ephemeral.
Tiarella is pretty and the leaves look good when they are not in flower.
Forget-me-nots are great, and self-seed with abandon (which is a good thing, as they are easy to pull up if the appear in the wrong place.)
There are some beautiful Hellebores out there too (another shade-loving plant).
I really, really LOVE Spurge. They form beautiful clumps and the leaves turn from green to yellow.

Azaleas are lovely, but the deer like them too much.
Camelias are gorgeous. Several neighbors have them and I enjoyed seeing them in bloom this spring.

Come to think of it, I really love my spring garden :).


Labradors2 June 24, 2019 10:30 PM

I forgot about Columbines! Can save some seeds, as well as Forget-me-not seeds, and put them in the Cdn Seed Swap with your name on if you like ;).


bower June 25, 2019 06:52 AM

Thanks Linda!

I have one Pulmonaria plant and I want more more more!! :love: The bees really love them and they just keep on blooming. But they don't spread very readily. I wondered if I could take cuttings and root them? Or should I pull down the outer branches and cover with compost to get them to root? If I could get a dozen of these going and placed around the garden, I would be satisfied of doing my bee-best. :)
I have Pasque flowers too. They often bloom earlier than the bees are out, but this year they are still going. But bees don't seem to be very interested in them. :( I wonder if they are short of nectar, which the queens really need in the early spring.
Columbine is not early here. They must like the heat.

Forgetmenots are a weed here, thanks! I do like them but a few years ago I realized they seriously host the mildew that strikes us in humid July weather and which is a tomato killer. :evil: They just started to flower and I've left them to see if bees do care for them or not, but I expect them to be foul with mildew in a week or two.

I have a few cowslips. I have planted oodles of primroses over the years but none have survived excepting the cowslips (which I should also make more of).

I will look up the others you mentioned - wouldn't it be great if there was a shrub the moose and rabbits don't eat. :roll: Forsythia is another one that is really gorgeous and seems hardy in my area.
Usually by midsummer day, I have chives, cornflowers and bluebells in flower, but these are being late this year. I think my shallot plot is going to flower at the same time as chives, and really looking forward to see them. :D Mrs. Bee has been trying the buds already.
I seeded more "Hardy Evergreen" onion this year, because they survive quite well as a perennial and flower fairly early.

GrowingCoastal June 25, 2019 02:20 PM

What about Daphne? Some, besides the winter daphne, bloom in winter or early spring. It is bee friendly and the critters won't lunch on them. In your moose/rabbit situation it is hard to recommend many plants.

I was mindblown to see that some flowers are toxic to some bees!? Wouldn't the bees be able to sort that out and not use the ones that are bad for them?
There's a list toward the bottom of this page that lists a few of those harmful plants.

and another list on this page with proper names listed.

Wallflowers are biennial. Start some now for next year.

Labradors2 June 25, 2019 02:47 PM

Bower, Pulmonaria should self-seed. I'll see if I can capture some seeds for you. I've never tried before. It's not a shrub, so unfortunately, you cannot make more by anchoring a stem to the ground :(

I just bought a Cranesbill called "Biokovo" (plant of the year in 2015). It has pale pink flowers and is deer and rabbit resistant. It begins blooming in late spring, but I just thought I would mention it.

So sorry to hear about your mouldy Forget-me-nots and your non-returning primroses, but you are lucky to have cowslips :).

Forsythia is one of the earliest shrubs, and Daphne, as Growingcoastal mentioned, is a really lovely, early, fragrant shrub which bees will love! I grew the Carol Mackie cultivar twice and both times the main stem got enormous, cracked, and the plant died after a few years. Even so, it is well worth growing.

Chives are lovely! I don't think one can have too many in a garden :).


bower June 25, 2019 03:15 PM

Well, I must have a look for Daphne! :)
Thanks for the links, Coastal - I only recently heard about rhododendron being toxic, also lupins I read to reduce bees reproduction? Or something like it.:surprised: I don't have either but they are in the area so every roadside has lupins, neighbor has rhododendron. Another good reason to block the garden with alternatives which, as you pointed out, a bee should know if the flowers are good or not. They might forage the wrong kinds if there's nothing else though!
That "Sheep Laurel" or Lambkill as we call it is to hate! Poisonous to animals and humans as well as bees. It's a 'native' species here but is also really invasive. If I see any, I tear it out. :roll:
Chives, bolted shallots, and "Hardy Evergreen" onion are just opening their spathes today. The shallot buds are all colors, can't wait to see the flowers. :love::cute:

GrowingCoastal June 25, 2019 10:18 PM

Shallot flowers sound interesting. I leave a few elephant garlic to bloom for the bees, other pollinators and humming birds. Aliums draw a variety of fliers to them when they bloom. The flat garlic chives also bring a crowd to their white clusters of flowers.

Another early blooming shrub that may be hardy enough is witch hazel.

When my one large rhodo is in bloom it is full of bee music day after day until the flowers drop and then they move on to the rambling rose. There are no dead bees. We have so many rhodos on the coast here, even wild ones, that I think the bees have figured it out or already died if susceptible.

I have noticed that the bees here like toad flax more than they like the African basil. Toad flax can be invasive but it can also be controlled without too much trouble. Hummingbirds also like the toad flax.

bower June 26, 2019 09:12 AM

I have definitely noticed bee action on the 'Hardy Evergreen' flowers and they love the chives too, so flowering alliums seem to be a thumbs up.:) The shallots look like they may produce every shade from white through to purple. The buds are very ornamental and quite a range of sizes. The clumps are all different heights as well from 25 to 55 cm tall. The little short ones may not make much in the way of shallots, but could be a great flower for the front of the border. :yes: Mind you, they are bolting because of our hideous weather. :lol: Might not work in a more temperate place?

I do have some small witchhazels! They've survived being bitten down many times, but not large enough to flower still.

I agree that bees like other creatures had to know what they can or can't eat. I am always surprised at the good sense animals show, in knowing exactly what medicine they want from my garden. Their sense of what they needed is as good as ours, maybe better!

Labradors2 June 26, 2019 05:08 PM

I LOVE toadflax. It's SO sweet and pretty. I must et some of that going here in a wild area. There is also a blue/mauve one that looks gorgeous grown en masse. We live near a defunct golf course, and the first year it was covered in it. Interestingly, a very small percentage of it came up white...…


sjamesNorway June 28, 2019 11:37 AM


I have a bee hotel ready to hang up. All you need is a block of wood. Drill 4-7 millimeter holes 8-10 centimeters deep. Hang it in a sunny spot. I stopped using pesticides on our raspberry bushes a couple of years ago, and I leave more flowering weeds around the house than before. They're very fond of foxgloves, especially bumblebees. We have lots of perennial flowers around the house, and a bush (don't know what it is) that sounds like a high tension wires when it's flowering. We should all be doing our bit.


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