Saturday, March 18, 2017

Resources for Alberta Bumblebee Gardeners

Bumblebee Plants for Alberta 
This list is a work of progress: check back for updates as I re-organize it to make this easier to read.
* Denotes a medicinal plant for bees
BOLD denotes special interest for bumblebee plants (buzz pollinated, longer corollas or special relationships, ie trip pollination)
Native and Near Native Shrubs:
Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), Oregon Grape (Berberis spp.), Willow (Salix spp.), Sumac (Rhus spp.), Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), Blue Elderberry (Sambucus cerulea), Wax Currant (Ribes cereum), Clove Currant and other ribes spp., Wild Raspberry, Kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), High Bush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum), Wood’s Rose (Rosa Woodsii), Prickly Rose (R. acicularis), Blueberry—low bush vaccinium myrtilloides and cultivars, Potentilla spp., Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
June Gap: Ninebark (Physocarpus spp.), Spirea spp., Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), hardy roses
Later Shrubs: Buck Brush (Symphoricarpos occidentalis), Rabbit Brush (Chrysothamnus naseosus)
Native Trees Chokecherry, Crabapple, Pincherry, Saskatoon (and many other native fruit trees), Western Mountain Ash (Sorbus scopulina)
Native Vines: Purple Clematis (Clematis occidentalis) Virgin’s Bower Clematis (Clematis ligustifolium) beware of invasive look-alikes
Exotic Trees: Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), Linden (Tilia spp.) avoid silver linden (Tilia tomentosa); Stone Fruit Trees: apple, cherry, peach, apricot, pear, quince, plum; Redbuds (Cercis spp.);
Exotic Shrubs: Spirea spp., Climbing roses
Native and Near Native Perennials: Native violets, Prairie Crocus (Pulsatilla patens), Bleeding heart (Dicentra spp.), Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum spp.) Heartleaf Golden Alexanders (Zizea aptera)
 Nodding onion (Allium cernuum) and other native alliums, Canadian Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and other Aquilegia spp., Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), Prairie Smoke (Geum trifolium), Few-Flowered Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum)
Milk Vetch (Astragalus spp.) toxic, Locoweed (Oxytropis spp.) toxic, Native Silvery Lupin (Lupinus argenteus) and other Lupinus spp. toxic, Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia spp.), Broomrape (Orobanche spp.)
Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium), Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor), Potentilla spp. native species and cultivars are great
Common Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia and other native and exotic spp.), Native Larkspurs Delphium bicolour, D. glaucum or Nuttall’s Larkspur (D. nuttallianum) HIGH toxicity warning, Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome serrulata), Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Penstemon spp., Canadian Milk Vetch (Astragalus Canadensis and other native spp.), Scarlet Globe Mallow  (Sphaeralcea coccinea) (red-listed grassland species), Plains Prickly Pear (Opuntia polyacantha), Gumweed (Grindelia spp.)
Erigeron spp., Lilies (Erythronium spp.), Blue Gentian (Gentiana spp.), Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium spp.), Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium spp.)
Monkey Flower (Mimulus sp.), Summer Paintbrush (Castilleja spp.)
Native Annual: Bienenfreunde aka Lacy Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)
Late-Blooming Native Asteraceae: Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium maculatum) Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.), Tickseed (Coreopsis spp.), Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritaceae), Asters (Symphyotrichum spp.), Goldenrod (Solidago spp.), Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.), Coneflowers (Ratibida spp.), Black-eyed Susan the Alberta native is Rudbeckia serotina
Exotic Perennials: *Turtlehead: (Chelone glabra), Catmint (Nepeta cultivars) N. cataria can be invasive, *Sage (Salvia spp.) *Meadow Sage (Salvia pratensis), *Oregano, *Thyme, *Dragonhead (Dracocephalum spp.), California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), Verbena spp.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.), Liatris spp., Comfrey (Symphytum spp.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Hollyhocks (and other malva spp.), Wine Cup (Callirhoe involucrata), Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), Sea Holly (Eringeum spp.), Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro), Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) comes with an invasive warning, Caterpillar Flower (Phacelia bolerandi), Masterwort (Astrantia major), Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)
Exotic Annuals: Borage (Borago officinalis), *Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), *Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Hairy Vetch (Vicia villosa) weedy warning, Blue Shrimp Plant (Cerinthe major), Moroccan Toadflax (Linaria maroccana)
Scarlet Runner Beans, *Nightshades (Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant, Potato), squash (Cucurbitae)
Globe Gilia (Gilia capitata), Zinnias (choose the large ones), Dahlias (Avoid doubles)

Let some of your veggies bloom for bees: radishes, kale, leeks, carrots, parsnips
Extra bee-friendly herbage: cilantro, fennel, dill, rosemary, mints, winter and summer savoury

Warning: Don’t plant Sainfoin (Onobrychis spp.)—I have recently found out that it is invasive in Alberta.
Sources and Recommended Reading:
Local native plants and seeds:
Native Plants for the Short Season Yard by Lyndon Penner. (This is a must-have book for the Albertan bumblebee gardener!!!!)
Bees: An Identification and Native Plant Foraging Guide by Heather Holm. (Best for Eastern US, but some good info on more widespread native plants for bees.)
(You can buy these on Amazon, or support your local bookstore!)

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