Let’s BEE Friends!

In just a few sweet weeks, my Mexican plum will be simply abuzz with small bees and butterflies.
mexican plum flower bee central texas gardener
Mexican redbud takes over just after that.
bee on Mexican redbud Central Texas Gardener
Native bees and honeybees are easy to please if you keep the garden pantry open all year. For us in winter, edible rosemary flowers offer good eating for bees and other pollinators.
bee on rosemary Central Texas Gardener
Normally, asters bloom for us in fall. Since little birds already chomped down all the seeds on my spent flowers, I clipped the branches to the ground. But some around town are still blooming!
bee on aster Central Texas Gardener
In winter, annual calendulas keep bees from starving when not much else is going on.
bee on calendula Central Texas Gardener
Everybody heads to poppies and native wildflowers like Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) in mid-spring.
bees on corn poppy Central Texas Gardener
bee on Indian blanket native wildflower Gaillardia Central Texas Gardener
Cilantro’s a food fest for many pollinators when it bolts and flowers in late spring.
bee on bolting cilantro Central Texas Gardener
In summer, native Turk’s cap multi-tasks for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.
bee Pam's Pink turk's cap Central Texas Gardener
There are all kinds of bees out there, but you might spot a Carpenter bee on your native Hamelia patens.
carpenter bee on firebush hamelia patens central Texas Gardener
Native Salvia farinacea, commonly known as mealy blue sage, cools us down from spring through fall with soothing blue flowers.
Salvia farinacea mealy blue sage Central Texas Gardener
At the Travis County Extension demonstration garden, it’s truly a bee fest.
bee on mealy blue sage Salvia farinacea Central Texas Gardener
This week, Daphne explains how to grow this perennial member of the mint family in sunny or morning sun spots.
Salvia farinacea and orange shrimp plant Central Texas Gardener
Although root hardy to USDA Zone 8, she tells us, mealy sage dies back to the ground each winter. Avoid pruning until you see new growth at the base. And it’s best to plant after the last frost date to give it plenty of time to establish before next winter. Find out more about Salvia farinacea.

Bees go nuts for bottlebrush tree (Callistemon spp.). See them snuggled in?
bee in bottlebrush tree flower Central Texas Gardener
To illustrate our global connection, New Zealand bees are just as avid about a tree that’s in the same family as bottlebrush, Metrosideros, and very similar. KLRU’s Ted O’Brien snapped this picture in his parents’ driveway.
Rata tree in New Zealand photo Ted O'Brien Central Texas Gardener
In New Zealand, it’s called Rata. The jar of creamy honey that Ted brought back even includes pollen count on the label!
Rata honey New Zealand Central Texas Gardener
And here’s a first on CTG: Tom dons a beekeeper hat! As more people go for sustainable living, many are setting up hives for locavore honey. Bee-fore you jump into it, Master Beekeeper Tanya Phillips sweetens the deal with top tips for starting beehives.
Tom Spencer and Tanya Phillips Master Beekeeper Central Texas Gardener
Owner of Bee Friendly Austin with husband Chuck, and founder of the Travis County Beekeepers Association, she’s got the buzz from set-up to honeycomb harvest.
Bee Friendly Austin top bar hive Central Texas Gardener
At Bee Friendly Austin, a small Certified Naturally Grown Apiary in Southwest Austin, you can take step-by-step classes. Tanya and Chuck also organize the annual Tour De Hives, this year on August 19.
Bee Friendly Austin bee class Central Texas Gardener
Shop online for artisan honey, soaps, and beekeeping gear.
Bee Friendly Austin local honey Central Texas Gardener
Travis County Beekeepers Association hosts speakers and provides resources, including who to call if you need to move a swarm.
Travis County Beekeepers Association
And check out Tanya’s book, Beginning Beekeeping, coming out in March, but pre-order any time. And here’s her Top 10 Tips for starting out, including resources.
Beginning Beekeeping Tanya Phillips Central Texas Gardener
Not only can gardening reduce sensitivity to allergies, and boost our immune systems, digging in the soil is also a natural anti-depressant.
flowers and vegetable gardens Lake Austin Spa Resort Central Texas Gardener
Trisha Shirey explains how soil microbes and being outside gives us a sense of well-being to beat the blues.
vegetable gardens Lake Austin Spa Resort Central Texas Gardener
On tour, when Vicki Blachman slowly removed lawn for wildlife habitats, she added Mason bee houses to attract these solitary, non-stinging pollinators.
mason bee houses vicki blachman central texas gardener
Watch now!

And thanks for buzzing by! See you next week, Linda