The nights are chilly, the bees are still flying and gathering nectar, but definitely slowing down. After some travel this fall, I did a tour of my property to see what is still blooming and available for my bees in mid to late September. I don’t want to have to feed the bees their sugar water, but want to make sure there are enough bloomers out there for them to gather nectar from. Sugar water is a supplemental feeding for bees when the nectar sources are scarce. After taking a census of what was blooming, I am satisfied that there is enough “flower power” for the bees to coast into the winter.
Dahlias are the clear winners in the “bang for your buck” department for blooms. Spend a few dollars for a fleshy root or tuber in the spring and you are set for blooms August through October. And these are “big” bloomers! This pink dahlia measured 8-9 inches across and will bloom for weeks.
Flowers attract the insects with nectar. Nectar is the all-important food, rich in carbohydrate, that is the insect’s reward for visiting the flower. Pollen transfer is what the insect gives back which perpetuates the flower species. Insects seem to be attracted to purple, pinks, blues and pinks. Also, the simpler the flower, the more accessible the nectar is to the bee.
This beautiful blue annual is so easy to start from seed that I am sure to have it gracing my flower beds every year. ‘Blue Horizon’ is the more unusual tall variety of Ageratum, about 18″ tall as opposed to the squatty, gnome-like shorter variety which tops off at 6″. ‘Blue Horizon’ is a graceful mingler that plays well with others. You can spot this Ageratum throughout the garden to add splashes of pastel blue accents to your perennial mix for months-long color. A great cut flower, I like to use it in arrangements as a contrast to the oranges, reds, and yellows of fall.