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Apparently, the most well known bee plant is borage. This herb is known as the ‘friendly herb’ and once you plant it will self seed for you. I find it is never a nuisance, as it seems to know where to pop up! It is easily weeded out if necessary. This herb comes in 2 colours – blue and white. The white variety is the stronger grower, and I find that the bees go to it just as much as to the blue one. Comfrey, a cousin of borage, also has flowers that the bees love.

 

Hardy annual to 90 cm with blue star-shaped flowers with grey-green, bristly leaves. Use young leaves and flowers in salads that impart a “mild cucumber freshness”. It will grow in a wide range of soil and it will self-seed readily. A compost activator. Companion : broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, squash, tansy and tomato.

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Another plant that has been flowering almost all year, in my garden at least, and that the bees just love is Borage. It provides high levels of both nectar and pollen and its dead easy to grow, in fact I have rather a lot of self seeded plants . Borage is used in companion planting. It is said to protect or nurse legumes, spinach, brassicas, and even strawberries and with my gardeners hat on, I'd say it was the second most useful plant in the garden after comfry. But thats a little off topic.

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It is said to protect or nurse legumes, spinach, brassicas, and even strawberries and with my gardeners hat on, I'd say it was the second most useful plant in the garden after comfry. But thats a little off topic.

 

I'd love to hear about that...

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My bees are loving sage flowers at the moment and the hedge plant that I have as my avatar picture. This plant is dead easy to take cutting from, it called something like tutticans fruticans (something like!) And of course lavender flower, another plant that grows easy from cuttings.

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Borage is really one of the most well-known plants for bees. Even I know about it haha* I like it that they are so easy, you have no troubles with borage at all, this is what I really appreciate!

And funnily enough they seem also to be the favorite of the bees. I got some different flowers delivered, but they didn't care and just flew to the borage ;)

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Alas not even borage is safe from the food police anymore, with pyrrolizidine-alkaloid toxicity coming under the microscope :(

Its a lovely looking plant though and one I'd like in my garden for the bees

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Alas not even borage is safe from the food police anymore, with pyrrolizidine-alkaloid toxicity coming under the microscope :(

Its a lovely looking plant though and one I'd like in my garden for the bees

 

:) wouldn't worry about it. Yeah, ok, they're a concern, and now they've been identified it has to be followed through and explored, but this is the same borage we've been eating honey off for centuries with no identified ill effects. It's a long way from Tut or Rhododendron honey.

 

As our science gets more and more refined at an ever quickening pace, we're going to find more and more of these types of things.

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I find in my garden that the honey bees are leaving the borage to the bumble bees, there must be something tastier over the fence..........actually there was until my neighbour mowed his paddock ............come back lawn, it was loaded with clover and I could see hundreds of bees buzzing around (fortunately his kids were away for most of the holidays so no worries about bee stings) the bees are really busy but only just keeping ahead of the colony for feed requirements.

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Borage grows great here ....putting quite a bit more in this year...working towards an acre or so. Keeps going til the frosts. Interesting to hear about the white Grant...got some seeds off ebay to plant this Spring...hopefully soon.

 

Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk

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as far as I know there is no trouble with true borage honey I think the one you are referring to with the pyrrolizidine alkaloids is blue borage(salvation Jane, Pattersons curse) an unrelated plant which grows in the drier parts of the South Island and produces large quantities of honey. Personally I believe it is a case of the food police going way overboard and I have eaten and enjoyed this honey many times. There are other honeys that contain similar minute quantities of these alkaloids , I think Lavender is one of them but don't quote me. If you want to be really safe don't need more than 100 kg of honey in one sitting and stay away from chicken pies

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as far as I know there is no trouble with true borage honey I think the one you are referring to with the pyrrolizidine alkaloids is blue borage(salvation Jane, Pattersons curse) an unrelated plant which grows in the drier parts of the South Island and produces large quantities of honey. Personally I believe it is a case of the food police going way overboard and I have eaten and enjoyed this honey many times. There are other honeys that contain similar minute quantities of these alkaloids , I think Lavender is one of them but don't quote me. If you want to be really safe don't need more than 100 kg of honey in one sitting and stay away from chicken pies

Yep - and always, always blow on your pie! lol.

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when i was down there in north Canterbury and had some hobby hives i got a terrific crop of blue borrage its probably one of my favourite honeys i gorged myself on it for quite sometime not quite a 100kgs in one sitting but it felt like it at times especially while extracting in my laundry i had to lick it if everything so did the family and i think we all right we at least still alive, in fact that was the only type of honey i got for a couple years.

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Certainly is vipers bugloss - it thrives down here, really loves the hot dry climate of Central Otago, sometimes hillsides are covered and too hot for anything else to grow. Flowers around late December - January. Bees seem to love it and it makes a lighter coloured and lovely flavoured honey- far better than the strong honey from thyme, our other main plant which covers vast areas down here - leave that for the bees through winter!

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Apparently, the most well known bee plant is borage. This herb is known as the ‘friendly herb’ and once you plant it will self seed for you. I find it is never a nuisance, as it seems to know where to pop up! It is easily weeded out if necessary. This herb comes in 2 colours – blue and white. The white variety is the stronger grower, and I find that the bees go to it just as much as to the blue one. Comfrey, a cousin of borage, also has flowers that the bees love.

 

Hardy annual to 90 cm with blue star-shaped flowers with grey-green, bristly leaves. Use young leaves and flowers in salads that impart a “mild cucumber freshness”. It will grow in a wide range of soil and it will self-seed readily. A compost activator. Companion : broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, squash, tansy and tomato.

just a bit of useless information but blue borage is also known as "star flower" in the USA,

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I agree, its like breathing, that's bad for you nowadays as well :D

Hi Grant. My name is Jen and I have started a community project in Mid Canterbury to help 'Feed the Bees'. From what I have read in this forum and on other info sites, there are no wild bees left TO feed??? My main goal was to grow high yielding pollen/nectar plants from cuttings to give out freely in our community to feed and encourage bees, and get people gardening for bee preservation. I have over 300 seedlings already on the go, and a good list of great plants that bees love.... I would appreciate any advice you could give me regarding plants. The Ashburton District Council have given me access to their local gardens for cuttings and recycling of plants as they rotate their displays. I have attached a link to our Facebook page if anyone is interested in having a look. Im most appreciative of any help :-) Mid Canterbury - Feed the Bees | Facebook

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Hi Jen,

welcome to the forum, the bees around you area will be very grateful, this is a wonderful way to help our bees.

Thanks Bron... I am a keen gardener, and here in Mid Canty we have such wide open and sparse areas devoid of any real bee food. Im all for feeding the bees and saw this as an opportunity to get people involved and educated on the plight of our bees.... However, in saying that, I do need expert advice on all thing 'bee', as I am like most people and think immediately of honey.... I am very lucky to have two pivotal parts of our Community on board. Wastebuters Canterbury will be our distribution point for the free plants, and the Ashburton District Council will allow us to go into the council gardens and take cuttings to grow. Im hoping the project will fly and we can raise public awareness about the plight of the bee. :-)

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Hi Derek, and thanks for your reply. I am technologically pathetic and very new to this.... LOL... How do I start a new topic please???

You're not that bad Jen, you already have the know how to quote someone's post in your reply... :whistle:

 

To start a new topic, select the forum you want to post in, eg General Beekeeping - click on the "Post New Topic" button (see below)

 

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This gets you the "Create Thread" text editor - just enter a title, then the content in the message box, then click the "create thread" button. (see below)

 

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