Forage – Around Farnham
One of our new members, Anne Jones, has very kindly contributed the following:-
I've noticed that my Chinese honesuckle and Mahonia japonica are both flowering away merrily, also some early heathers and Viburnam tinus. Outside the garden I've seen nothing except hazel - plenty of catkins but not advanced enough to be dropping pollen yet. The snowdrops, mahonia japonica and witch hazel are also still flowering well. I've noticed on our travels down the hill from Hindhead that the catkins on the hazel trees are more advanced than mine and that the gorse is flowering well on Hankley Common. The Jet Stream is still well and truly anchored over the Mediterranean instead of being north of Scotland where it should be and the latest prediction weatherwise is that Spring is going to arrive at least a month late this year, and there will be very few bees foraging until the weather gets up to 10C.
Here is a list of what forage one would expect to be available at this time of year:
Blackthorn, sloe (Prunus spinosa), Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), Cherry Plum (Prunus cerasifera), Corsican Hellebore (Helleborus corsicus/argutifolius), Goat willow (Salix caprea) Gorse, Hazel catkins, Heathers, winter flowering - red, pink and white, King cup/marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), Mahonia aquifolium, Mahonia lomariifolia, Ornamental quinces, Red Alder tree, Stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), Willow (Salix), Viburnum bodnatense fragrans, Viburnum tinus
Berberis - there are lots of varieties of these, many of which start flowering in April
Blackthorn/sloe (Prunus spinosa), Bluebell, wild English and Spanish cultivated varieties may be in flower by late April, Bugle, pink and blue, Wild cherry (Prunus avium), Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), Cuckoo flower/Ladies smock, Dandelion, Forget-me-not, Forsythia - in flower, but I can find no record of this being attractive to bees so I shall watch mine this year to see if it is or not.
Garlic mustard, sometimes known as Jack-by-the-hedge, Gorse (Ulex europaeus), Grape hyacinth, Ground ivy, Heathers, spring flowering varieties, Hellibores, Honesty, Horse chestnut, Oil seed rape, Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), Plums (Prunus domesticus), Rosemary, Scillas, Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris), Snowflake (Leucojum), Violets (Viola odorata), Wood anemones
We'll probably be seeing the wildflowers in the above list out in the roadside verges and hedgerows as well as in many of our gardens of course. This is quite a long list and there are probably many plants I haven't mentioned. If there's anything someone thinks I should have mentioned and haven't then please let me know.
Berberis candidula and darwinii, bird cherry, rosemary (upright and protrate), forget-me-nots, white lilac, bugle, primroses, white spirea, choisya, lily-of-the-valley, damson (mine is starting to drop) plums, various apples and pears, cherries, garlic mustard, tree heathers (and ordinary heather that hasn't gone over yet), marsh-marigolds, sweet cicily, May flowering Californian lilacs and ceanothus, cotoneaster conspicuus/horizontalis/hupetensis/microphyllus/simonsii, crab apples malus John Downie and spectabilis, firethorns - many varieties, hawthorn, maples, roses Frulinsgold and Canary Bird, sycamore, medlar, quince, snowdrop tree, budleia globosa, choisya ternata, clematis amandii and ternata, brooms - most are early flowering, escallonia - wide range, evergreen, not reliably hardy but mine have survived in spite of snow damage, osmanthus delavayii, mahonia aquifolium (just discovered this is the Oregon grape and mine is flowering madly now!), pyracantha, syringa, tamarisk (WON'T grow for me!), gorse, viburnam judii, wisteria sinensis (ours is coming into flower now), brunneras, and finally our horse-chestnuts which are absolutely covered in flower buds!
Wide range of berberis, early buddleias, rock roses, Mexican orange blossom, some of the clematis varieties, coroneaster, broom, deutzias, wide range of escallonias including Apple Blossom, calico bush, mock orange, potentillas, Portuguese laurel, firethorn, an assortment of rhododendrons, big yellow flowered scented azaleas, snowberries, tamarisk, gorse, weigela, wisteria (going over now but still of interest), horse chestnuts, still some hawthorn, mountain ash, hollies, wild bilberries, cultivated blueberries and srtawberries, whitebeam, various marigolds (plant French marigolds to attract beneficial insects that enjoy an aphid feast), foxgloves, echinops, various potentillas, laveders, rosemary, chives and alliums, thyme, honesty, anchusa azurea Loddon Royalist, oxeye daisies (covering the roadside verges at the moment but probably nearly finished), rosa rugosa, briar rose, lilacs, cultivated heathers and tree heathers, stransvaesii/photinia 'Palette', red and white spirea, verbascums, clematis, laburnam, solanum crispum, elder and a lot of rockery Alpines.
The following is the forage list for July, sourced from the BBKA Calendar, the BBKA shrub and tree lists, Ken Muir's Helping Declining Bee Populations plant list and my own observations from past years:
Berberis carminea 'Buccaneer, blackberry, brooms - Cytisus albus/praecox/scoparius, buddleias - globosa/weyeriana, Californian lilacs, limes - under the right conditions (Anne B. knows more about this than I do), cotoneasters, mallows - malva moschata/sylvestris. Rock roses - many species and varieties, rosebay willow herb - a wild flower that favours damp places alongside water but grows quite happily in my garden amongst the roses, sweet chestnut - lots in this area, white clover - already in flower but my bees are ignoring it, abutilon vitifolium (NB. tender!), berberis - wide range, clematis vitalba (wild 'Traveller's Joy), white deutzia - my bees liked this but it's nearly over now, escallonias - wide range and evergreen, hebes - wide range, I have several and last year they did attract honey bees and are beginning to do so this year, wild honeysuckle - my bees aren't currently showing much interest in spite of the name, olearia haastii or daisy bush, philadelphus or mock orange - my bees are not interested but bumbles are, potentilla - some interest, rosa rugosa - little or no interest, symphoricarpus, tamarisk - mine hasn't flowered so I can't observe, gorse, viburnum opulus - no obvious interest at the moment, tulip tree, borage, buckthorn, cornflower, corn poppy,echinacea, evening primrose, flax, globe thistle, heath heathers, hollyhocks, marjoram, oregano. AJ
AB - I would just add that with this drought, anything that is shallow rooted will not be producing nectar, and if we don't get a real down pour this or early next month, there will again be no heather honey - despite the flowering. In 2007 we had 6 1/2" rain in July, and the best heather crop for many years (even if we didn't enjoy the July weather!)