June 2015

Plant summary field trip June 13-2015 to the Bee Garden of the Bakker’s.

Objectives:

1. In Spring, Summer and Autumn enough nectar and pollen production.
2. Honey with low crystallization in 8 to 12 month period.
3. Color preference for yellow golden honey.
4. Resilient plants for dryer summer conditions and harsh winters.
5. 2 Blooming periods per year if possible (spring and autumn).
6. Extended blooming periods (4 to 8 weeks).


 

Plants that have proven above specs are:

. Anise & Giant Hyssop = (Agastache rugosa & Agastache foeniculum),
. Vitex Agnus Castus = (Chaste tree)
. Blue weed or Viper Bugloss = (Echium vulgare).
. Star flower = (Borago officinalis).
. Catnip = (Nepeta cataria).
. BeeBee tree or Evodia = (Tetradium daniellii)


 

Plants that are in testing at the moment:

. Milkweed = (Asclepias syriaca).
. Staghorn sumac = Rhus Typhina
. Angelica archangelica (Wild celery)
. Clematis virginiana (Old man’s beard)


 

Agastache rugosa , Giant Korrean hyssop & Agastache foeniculum, Anise hyssop.

o Perennial, 4 to 5 feet tall and blooming in mid-summer to begin autumn.


o Native to China, Vietnam, Laos, Korea and Japan. Provide full sun, moist, well-drained soil.
o Attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
o Divide clumps in spring and easily grown with low maintenance. No insects or diseases.
o Support the branches if they become tall (good fertilization can do that).
o When bloomed out cut the branches and will give a second shorter bloom.
o Both species tolerate more moisture and humidity,
o Leaves used fresh or dry to flavor teas.
o Used as a bee plant in commercial operations.
o Agastache plants have different essential volatile oils to attract bees.
o Bees seem to be able to detect different volatile oil chemotypes of plants.
o Nasonov pheromone (mix essential oils) bees spray nectar source to direct other bees.
o Resistant to deer.


 

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Beebee tree, Evodia tree or Tetradium daniellii.

. Seeds should be stratified for best germination results.
. Full sun, days to maturity 5-7 years. Seedlings need lot of water, when trees are mature they
have good drought resistance.
. Sensitive tree that when young can give easy die-back and then coming up with multiple shoots.
. Spacing: 40-50 ft = 13-17 m spacing. Size at maturity: 35-50 ft spread about 40 ft.
. Young trees sprouts very susceptible to freeze damage. Difficult to get a good adult tree in
NWA within the 5 to 7 years. Freezing the top buds off will stunt the tree.


 

Vitex agnus-castus, Vitex, Chaste Tree, native of Mediterranean region. Perennial.

. Tropical and sub-tropical flowering plants. Vitex, name derived from Latin vieo, meaning to
weave or tie up, a reference to use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry.
. Vitex appreciated by beekeepers for long bloom from start June to end July.
. During the summer months, Vitex is one of few plants with nectar.
Chaste tree can become 10 to 15 feet tall tree, bush.
. Honey of excellent honey quality. Is believed to have sedative effects.
. Athenian women used the leaves in their beds “to cool the heat of lust” during the feasts of
Ceres. In ancient times it was believed to be an anti aphrodisiac,
. It requires full sun or partial shade with well-drained soil. Hardy to USDA Zone 7 & deer resistent.


 

Borage (Borago officinalis), starflower, Annual. Native to Mediterranean.

. The leaves are edible, also commercially cultivated for Borage seed oil.
. Grows to height of 60–100 cm (2.0–3.3 ft), Blue flower dominant over the white flower.
. Flowering season is long, from June to Sept. In milder climates, will bloom continuously.
. Prefers full sun, will tolerate partial shade and rich, moist soil. Add a lot of compost.
. Choose a site that is well protected from wind.


 

Rhus (red) Typhina, Staghorn sumac

. The stag-horn sumac is 15-30 ft, colony-forming, deciduous shrub, colorful in early fall.
. On female plants, yellow flowers are followed by fuzzy, bright red berries in clusters.
. Sumacs flowers from May to July and fruit can ripen from June to September.
. In winter bare widely forking, hairy twigs resemble deer antlers in velvet, hence
. Sumac, poison ivy, Brazilian pepper, cashews, mangoes and pistachios are all related.
. Many people are allergic to mango. Often they will also be allergic to other plants in the family
as well as sumac or the sap of the sumac.
. There are some 250 sumac species in the genus. All the berries of the red sumacs are edible.
Acid on hairs on the berries are used to make a limonade.
. Soaking the unwashed berries in faucet-hot water releases the acid to make a drink, filter
twice to get rid of little, irritating hairs (through cloth then a coffee filter or the like.) The
Cherokee Indians called the juice Quallah.
. Sumac species tend to be regional. Rhus glabra, “smooth sumac” is found in all contiguous
48 states. predominant sumac is Rhus copallina.
. Deer destroy young plants or rub against the bark.
. There is one poisonous sumac, roundish leaves, pointy on the end, has white fruit that grows
out from where a leaf meets the stem, and grows only in very wet places.


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Echium vulgare, Viper’s Bugloss, Blue weed. Snake herb from Borage family. Biennual.

. Native to South & Central Europe. Tall with blue flowers.
. Fall bloom provides nectar for bees for overwintering.
. Protection of the nectar inside the flower from vaporization or flushing away.
. For 8 weeks stable nectar source with nectar flow throughout the day.
. Concentration of sugars varies from 22.6 - 48.3% depending soil quality, not rain.
. Yellow gold color with lemon characteristics. High in fructose, slow to crystallize.
. In honey tastings among most favorites.
. Pollen contains Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PA) which should be avoided by humans.
. PA’s of natural origin and secondary metabolites for protection against herbivores. Most
honey have certain levels of PA’s. Heating or putting honey in hot tea or coffee will not
neutralize the alkaloids.


 

Nepeta cataria or catnip, Perennial Mint family. Well known for it's ability to get cat's high. It
is native to Europe & Asia. Approximately 250 species of Catnip:

o White flowers, grows up to 3 feet.
o Most cats enjoy. Produces essential oil called nepetalactone. Nepetalactone causes
hallucinogenic effect. Similar to LSD or marijuana. Cat get high for 5-10 minutes.
o Many wild animals also enjoy it. Cats can smell 1 PPB.
o Nepetalactone is 10x more effective repelling mosquitos than DEET.
o Also repels cockroaches rats & mice.
o Catnip tends to have a sedative effect on humans. It is most often drunk as a tea.
o Useful for upset stomach, treat headaches, coughing, insomnia & smallpox.
o Pregnant women should avoid catnip.
o Bloom from mid June to first frost and blooming periods up to 3 months.
o Catnip produces little nectar with low sugar content (22%) but bees like the plants.
o The plant only produces nectar and no pollen.


 

Robinia pseudoacacia, black locust, genus Robinia leguminous family. Perennial.

. Native SE USA.
. Height of 70 feet, with trunk 3-4 feet diameter. Spreads by underground shoots.
. Flowers: May or June. Blooming period is 10 days.
. Black locust is a major honey plant in the E-US, France source of acacia honey.
. The wood is extremely hard, resistant to rot and very durable due to Flavonoids.
. Locust named by Jesuit missionaries, tree supported St. John in wilderness.


 

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Test plants 2015:

Asclepias syriaca, milkweed. Family of Asclepiadaceae: Fascinating family of 250 genera
(families) and 2000 species (very similar characteristics) many tropical. Annual.

. Some are toxic. Monark butterfly have developed immunity and store toxic compounds. The
yellow black coloring of Monark against predators.
. Most insects feeding on milkweeds have this yellow black striping or marking.
. No toxins in the nectar, like is the case of toxic sumac or poison ivy.
. Asclepias syriaca flower is blamed to hurt the bees but no real proof.
. Milkweed can give exceptional honey crops.
. Family has high sugar content in nectar of 48% and >95% of sugars are sucrose.


 

Clematis virginiana, old man’s beard and Devil's darning needles. Perennial

. A 12-15 ft.climbing vine, climbing by twisting leaf stalks, lacking tendrils. Profuse, axillary
clusters of small, white flowers in late summer (July and August).
. All parts of plant are poisonous to humans, skin irritation if touched or inhaled. Toxic Principle:
Anemonin.
. An extract of the stems was used as a wash to induce strange dreams by the Iroquois. It is a
hallucinogen.
. An infusion of the root is taken for stomach and kidney trouble and nerves by Cherokee and
Iroquois. The Iroquois also used and infusion of the roots to treat veneral disease sores.


 

Angelica archangelica, Norwegan Angelica, Holy Ghost, Wild Celery.

. Biennial plant, Apiaceae family, cultivated for its sweetly scented edible stems and roots.
. During first year it only grows leaves, in second year its fluted stem can reach a 6 feet height.
. The flowers, which blossom in July, are small & numerous, yellowish-greenish in color.
. Angelica only grows in damp soil, preferably near rivers or deposits of water.
. Angelica is unique for its aromatic odor, a pleasant perfume comparable to musk and to
juniper. Even the roots are fragrant, used in the traditional Austrian internal medicine as tea
for treatment of disorders of gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, nervous system, and fever.
. Angelica honey is one of the most rare and valuable varieties. Its color varies from rich brown to
a red tint. Honey has a fairly sharp specific aroma, some bitterness and leaves an aftertaste.
. This special honey has little ability for crystallization.


 

Home remedies;  With having bee hives in the garden it is very difficult to use insecticides and in particular fungicides.   Bees are very susceptible (as fish is) to most fungicides and for that reason only home remedies can be used to combat ants, moths and fungi.


Against Ants in the house or affecting the hives.


  • Mix a solution of 1 cups of warm water with ¼  cup of sugar and 1 table spoons of Boric acid.

  • Dip this solution in a cotton ball and place on a lid and besides the ant trail or below a piece of plastic so that bees will not get to it.

  • The ants that find the Boric acid solution will be history in 24 hours.

     

     

    Against moths that intend to invade the hives.  This product is also good to use against Japanese beetles that can ravage plants and even trees.

     


  • Make on the upper side of a 2 liter “Coke” bottle 2 holes opposite to each other with a 2” diameter. Insects can enter through these holes but cannot leave.

  • Make small hole in the cap of the bottle and place a cord with a knob on the end so that you use that knob on the underside of the cap and use the other end to hang the bottle on branches or stands where you suspect insects to be.

  • Mix 3 ½ cups of water with 3 ½ cups of white vinegar and 1 ½ cups of sugar and add this solution to the bottle to which you add 1 ½ banana peel.

  • Fill the plastic bottle max till half full.

  • Check regularly the bottle and when full of insects replace the solution but be sure the moths or the beetles are dead.

     

    Against fungus and insects on plants (cucumber, zucchinis, squash and tomatoes).

     

    3 Table spoons of apple vinegar in 1 gallon of water.

    Spray once a week in the morning so that the leaves dry up with the sun.


 


 

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