WILDFLOWERS IN NOVA SCOTIA FOR HONEY BEES
St John’s Wort, Queen Anne’s Lace, Daisy, Purple Loosestrife, Evening Primrose, Mustard, Nova Scotia Thistle, Tiger Lilies, Lupines, Yarrow, Indian Paintbrush, Vetch, Etc.
There is a reason that Southwest Nova Scotia is known as the jewel- destination for tourists coming to visit our province.
From Annapolis Royal to Yarmouth is a treat for all of us who live here ,as well as for visitors. The area is famous for its small farms, apple orchards, migratory birds, rivers and seashores, fish and forests and very creative artists. The beautiful clean air,
picturesque bays and coves, wildflowers covering any spot of land not in use and post -card- perfect landscapes and small towns and villages and very
friendly people who have the time to say” hello”, are a few of the reasons that this geography is so special. It is a UNESCO designated Biosphere and reading the submission as to why we received this designation would explain much about why we wish to live here. And what is most delightful of all, is that it is nicknamed the “banana belt” of Nova Scotia because of our climate. A 6b growing zone is good news and with even warmer microclimates, the diversity of plants that can grow here is amazing.
Walking up our very long driveway from the seaside’s edge to the Hwy 101 the other morning I started to notice the amazing amount of
flowers growing along side of the main highway. When you are in the Art of Keeping Bees you start to view the world differently- your eyes transform into Bee Eyes!.
The stunning variety of wildflowers and bushes and trees growing here is like a Queen’s Buffet for the honey bees. What also struck me was that when I walked the dykeland road 6 kms up the Bay from our home, there were many different varieties of
wildflowers in bloom from the ones which I picked along the side of the road. Fragrant wild pink roses are the most noticeable and fragrant wild flowers in blossom at this time. However you will see from the picture here that I have picked l6 different wildflowers from the side of the #101 within five minutes of walking along its edge. Although we complained much about the cold start of summer and the rain – nature has responded with our area
looking like the Garden of Eden! Never before have we seen such lush growth of vegetation and the abundance of wildflowers .
Yesterday morning we walked along the seashore at the Belliveau’s Cove Walkway which was created by the community. The humid air was filled with roses and sea salt, the morning glories were spread out over the rocks like a spider’s web, trumpeting, in full open display of ,their beautiful shapes. St John’s Wort and Yarrow were in such an abundance that I started to fill my basket with medicinal teas, along with the rose blossoms for making rose water. The sea peas were growing wildly along the edge of the walkway and their beautiful violet-blue blossoms were in full bloom.
It does not take much imagination to picture the reason why the wildflower honey from our area is so special – the honey bees are enveloped in” a song of wildflowers”
in abundance. Perhaps the flowers are trying to outnumber the stars in those beautiful night skies we have been having lately!
On a practical note, the pollen from each variety of flower provides different nutritional ingredients which end up in “Wildflower Honey”. This is another
good reason to seek out raw, biodynamic wildflower honey – it is good for your health as well as for the honey bee’s health.
Yesterday we heard the tractors of the farmers mowing the fields along the Bay . Usually this mowing results in honey bees finding it hard to find food for themselves and it is only because we live by a Provincial Park and the undisturbed cliffs of St Mary’s Bay that Bello Uccello’s honey bees will continue to find an abundance of food. This might not be true in other areas and consideration needs to be given to this situation. If you have a garden, leave a patch of it “wild” and bring in seeds from local wildflowers and put them into that area – you will love all of the butterflies and bees and other pollinators who will grace your garden. Our local Provincial Park has started leaving “wild areas” where they do not mow and these areas are full of food for the bees. Planting bee balm, chamomile, stinging nettle,
borage are but a few of the herbs which the bees enjoy. Stinging nettle should be placed
in a location where you can mow around it, but it and comfrey are the mainstay of our
garden fertilizer and pest control program and the stinging nettle is nutritious for bees and people.
At our out- apiary ,our friends are continuing to create a bit of honey bee heaven on their property. This morning they took “family photos” of themselves and
the hives which are about to find new homes with people who have been trained by us to be natural beekeepers. Lois said that she truly enjoys the peacefulness which the hives have brought to her lovely garden by the sea. Yesterday I sat with Lois and her husband at our “lawn observatory”, watching the provincial bee inspector work with Klaus at inspecting the hives which will be going to new homes. The day was hot and sunny, the conversation was interesting and the bee inspector was great – my friends and I clapped our hands at the end of the “Inspection of the Bees” Part I
performance on their lawn:-}! The bees in the nukes have been very busy indeed and two of them had to have a second story put on their “home” as they grew past their first hive box. It is good to start out with good robust hives as a beginner keeper of bees.
Last weekend we were supposed to be selling honey at the market but the honey bees are very clever and efficient and what they are doing is “making honey
while the sunshines and the flowers bloom” and they are not taking the time to evaporate the honey in the cells and cap it off. This weekend we booked again
to go to the Annapolis Farmers Market, and Klaus just announced that he has enough
capped frames so he can extract honey for the market.
So please do look at all of those wildflowers around the places you live and remember the pollinators, including the honey bee, who are depending upon you to
not mow them down and perhaps even make a small spot for them in your garden. If you are into walking and you see wildflowers in seed, we ask that perhaps you take a couple of plants worth of the seed and spread it in another area. Like the ants, one at a time, in small acts of “life enhancement”, perhaps we can build an entire earth of wildflowers,
honey bees and healthy human beings .