Miss Floribunda: Seeds to please bees

January 9, 2012

Dear Miss Floribunda,

I heard through the grapevine that the Hyattsville Horticultural Society is going to make the seed sale an annual event and that the next one will be in early February. Is that true? If so, what will be offered that would attract bees to my garden? What with all the news of colony collapse I thought my organic garden would help bees find a nurturing home, or at least a snack bar. Yet, I’ve seen few bees in the summer. What flowers and herbs attract them?

Needs to Please Bees on Nicholson Street

 

MISS FLORIBUNDA —

Dear Needs to Please Bees,

Yes, the Hyattsville Horticultural Society Hart Seed Sale will take place on February 11 this year at the municipal building, 4310 Gallatin Street. Take the elevator to the Mary Prangley Room on the second floor. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Not only will you find a wide array of seeds of bee-pleasing plants and herbs, but also books and pamphlets on many gardening topics, including how to attract bees and other beneficials. As you may remember from the past, HHS expertise is not limited to gardening but extends to good cooking too. Hot soups and baked goods will warm you as you come in out of the February frost.

In the meantime, you have a special learning opportunity coming up on January 21. Ms. Nikki Thompson, Hyattsville’s own expert on bees, is guest speaker at the HHS January meeting. This is also located at the Municipal Center, but in the Multipurpose Room on the first floor. Ms. Thompson will give a Power Point presentation on native pollinators, which of course includes bees. The presentation is open to the public, and I encourage you to attend. In fact, anyone concerned about our fragile ecosystem ought to attend in order to understand the importance of bees and other pollinators and what we can do to help.

Now for specifics. The Hart collection includes an extensive selection of bee favorites: 10 varieties of sunflower, 11 varieties of zinnias, 4 varieties of poppies, 3 varieties of cosmos, 4 varieties of nasturtiums, and other pollen and/or nectar-rich flowers. These include heirloom varieties and a wildflower mix. In addition, you can choose from among 22 varieties of bee-attracting pumpkins and squash as well as the herbs bees love most: fennell, bergamot, thyme, anise, chives, borage, sage, lavender and even catmint. I would also like to emphasize that the Hart company, the oldest seed grower in the country still owned by the same family, pledges that none of their seeds are genetically modified. Both you and are your bees are safe when you grow flowers and vegetables from Hart seeds.

Thank you for your interest in bees and I hope to see you and other responsible gardeners at Ms. Thompson’s talk and as well as at the seed sale.