alex colket

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since Jun 04, 2013
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Recent posts by alex colket

thanks for the clarifying question Peter, I confused things by using the word "reflower" in the title. I guess what I am looking for is plants that can withstand a heavy pruning/chopping before they flower such that I may artificially force them to flower later in the season than they otherwise would and thus extend the total amount of time with such flowers available in the garden, rather than having them all go at once. obviously this can be done to some extent using microclimates but Im specifically interested in plants that can be chopped and used for mulch purposes
7 years ago
one added benefit I have noticed of the chop & drop approach is that it can also extend the flowering season for a particular species of plant. for instance, cutting some of my comfrey back to the ground in late spring means that these chopped plants will regrow and flower after the untouched comfrey flowers have died back, which seems like a nice feature for a nectary plant. I have tried to do some research to find a list of plants that are well-suited for this purpose beyond the few that I have figured out on my own, but I have not been able to find much. I don't have my copy of Edible Forest Gardens with me to check, but I don't recall any tables of appendices there with such information, so I figured it might be worth discussing here. Would anyone care to add to my list of good nectary plants that can be forced to flower a second (or multiple times) by chopping them down?

comfrey
yarrow
crown vetch (presumably other vetches as well?)
red clover
spearmint/bee balm/lemon balm (presumably most members of mint family)

or is this pretty much the norm for most perennial herbaceous plants?

thanks!
7 years ago
wow, thanks for the all the helpful responses! i've done some more research (and observation) on these various pollinators and the plants that attract them and it seems like im headed on the right track with the plants I have, I probably just need to provide more of them and spread them over a greater space (although the mason bees and bumblebees also love the ground ivy, which flowers for a couple months throughout spring). I came across a lot of lists of plants that attract mason bees but most of them seemed to flower at a different time than the fruit trees here in the NE U.S. ... but seems like two I may want to add are some spring-flowering lavender and heather. any other plant suggestions from those of you in a similar climate?

here is one article that answers the specific question of early spring mason bee plants
http://eartheasy.com/blog/2012/04/5-early-season-plants-which-attract-pollinators-to-your-garden/

not sure if I am ready yet to keeping honeybees per se but I love the idea of building mason bees some habitats to use. here is a good article I came across on the subject

http://www.ecolandscaping.org/03/beneficials/attract-mason-bees-%E2%80%93-no-protective-gear-needed/

@tel, I have made some tea with the leaves but I would need to develop more than a taste to keep it at bay, that would require a raging, uncontrollable ground ivy addiction
7 years ago
i have a 4 year-old 1/6 acre food forest. the original site (suburban lawn) had lots of ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) which has since spread to serve as a groundcover for about half the garden. there are some things I love about this plant, and others I dislike, but we are pretty much stuck with it either way for the time being.

one thing that I like about it is that the bees seems to LOVE it. when its flowering, I can usually find several honeybees per square foot of this plant, happily buzzing around. so it brings in a lot of pollinators, which should be good. however, I was observing the garden this spring and got to wondering if maybe the bees like the ground ivy too much. with it being so abundant, and so delicious, it seems as if all the activity was happening on the ground cover layer and few if any bees were flying upwards to visit the flowering trees/shrubs that are higher up off the ground. now that I can see how much fruit is set, I again get the feeling that there was not as much pollination going on as I would have liked...

would anyone care to chime in on this and share thoughts on whether its possible to provide too much pollinator food? or do you think I can remedy this problem by creating a "ladder" of good nectary sources at different heights that would encourage the bees to get up to the fruit blossoms 15 feet off the ground? other comments/ideas?

thanks!
alex
7 years ago