Go Forth and Pollinate

We're getting a delightfully unexpected spate of warm weather and around here; the crocuses are going nuts and even some dandelions are blossom-poppin'.

This, of course, turns the mind toward bees. Wren and I were pleased to see a couple of honeybees hovering around the witch hazel blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Saturday, but may have arrived a bit late in the day to catch the action on the crocuses.

I remember our first spring of beekeeping, the thrill of realizing that our hives had successfully overwintered. We arrived upstate early one Saturday afternoon in April and found the bees gathering pollen from our purple crocuses. The photo below was taken on that day.As we all continue our blissful (if temporary) Vulcan mind-meld with Springtime, I've collected links to a few good sites on the pollen plants bees depend on.

For those of you who garden, I hope these lists will inspire bee-friendly choices. The more good stuff (nectar, pollen) is out there for the bees—especially in early spring and during "dearth" periods like late summer—the better off they'll be. For the rest of us, beekeeper and bee-worshiper alike, I hope knowing a little more about the pollination aspect of things will be enriching.

New Jersey Beekeepers Association list of pollen-nectar plants.

Nectar and pollen plants of the Pacific Northwest.

A list of good things to plant for bees if you're located down South.

An "intro to pollen" from Wikipedia.

A list of crop plants pollinated by honeybees.

A super-cool pollen color chart (also from Wikipedia).

Below, one of our honeybees packing her pollen basket with the asparagus blossoms' bounty.

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