I dreamt — marvelous error!
that I had a beehive here inside my heart.
And the golden bees were making white combs
and sweet honey from my old failures.
So, we attend the meetings of three different bee associations in the region, and at one of them last month a fellow mentioned that he lets his kale go to flower for the bees. Hmmm, I got to thinking, I grow kale, the Tuscan variety (aka Dino kale or Black kale), and usually when it begins to flower I yank it out and start the garden over again. I didn’t know bees would go for it. This spring, if you can call it that, has been so cold and wet for so long that I’ve not been able to get any new seedlings other than peas and leeks in the ground. The garlic and remaining leeks have wintered over well, the asparagus is coming up, the alpine strawberries are blooming and now the kale is in full bloom.
Woo hoo! Not only do the bees love it but the hummingbirds are going for it too! Not in droves but the other day I saw a hummer flitting around and sampling all the flowers. In addition to honey bees and hummingbirds, there were also other different tiny pollinator bees going for it. Check out the honey bee in the picture here. Honey bees have shorter tongues than bumblebees and hummingbirds who could easily reach into such a deep flower. These flowers are a little too tight for the bees to get their heads in far enough for their tongues to reach the nectar so the smart little bee is accessing it from between the petals from the backside of the bloom nearer the stem end. Smart huh?
Who knew?? Not me, that’s for sure but I learned something new that I will continue in the years to come. Leave the kale to bloom for your pollinators.
In Bloom In My Garden Today: Alpine strawberries, Bergenia, Ajuga, Kale, Tulips, Geum, Erythronium ‘pagoda, Fritillaria, Brunnera macrophylla, Anemone nemorosa, Dicenta alba (white bleeding heart), Skimmia, Muscari (Grape Hyacinths), Rhododendron, Mahonia, Clematis, Wood Hyacinths, primrose (double English), Heleborus, Bellis perennis (English daisy),