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Anise oil for bees: they will follow it anywhere

Yesterday a reader, Harold Owen, commented on my post “Five Favorite Plants for the Bee Garden” by saying that anise is an excellent bee attractant. He is absolutely right. I want to thank him for mentioning it because anise is a great bee plant. I have never grown anise in the garden. But of all […] Read more

Five favorite plants for the bee garden

Since this is the season when gardening catalogs flood my mailbox, I can’t help but think about next year’s pollinator garden. My five favorite pollinator plants are all species that attract a wide variety of wildlife. In addition, they all are relatively easy to care for and don’t require a lot of water. Agastache comes […] Read more

Dazzling dandelion pollen makes a fall comeback

Fall rain followed by a few sunny days brought out the dandelions here in the Pacific Northwest . . . and the honey bees noticed. Huge pellets—the color of boxed macaroni and cheese—are being carried into the hives, two-by-two. While dandelions do not provide the perfect honey bee food, their presence provides something for the […] Read more

Buckwheat: a casualty of American agriculture

I have an emotional attachment to buckwheat—it’s that simple. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, special-occasion breakfasts were celebrated with buckwheat pancakes topped with buckwheat honey. These dark-colored, robust-flavored pancakes were started the night before with a yeast batter and cooked the next morning on a cast-iron griddle, sizzling hot. The cakes were served with fresh […] Read more

Goldenrod: a late-summer feast for the bees

Goldenrod is one of those plants that everyone knows, but no one can identify—or so it seems. The genus Solidago—to which all the goldenrods belong—is extremely variable. The flowers, the leaves, even the general silhouette of the plant can vary markedly depending on where you live. The ones here on the west coast have baffled […] Read more