Category Archive : Pollinators

FARMING FOR POLLINATORS # 3

We are continuing our farming for pollinators series. We have just posted the next article named feeding the pollinators. The hardest thing in any recovery or introduction program is that of integration. The articles are designed to fold into one another and integrating information from one subject to the next.

We are getting very excited in anticipating our land preparations for the upcoming beekeeping season. It will be a definitely different year where we will be caring for native and honeybees. Whatever we learn or amend we will post so that everyone can learn and share the experiences.

Happy beekeeping.

FARMING FOR POLLINATORS # 2

We are researching many articles and sources in order to best prepare for our upcoming spring project. While the world is focusing on the European honeybees in crisis, we are focusing on our wild native bee populations for Ontario. In one word I can sum up our bees. DIVERSE. Diverse in their appearances, diverse in their nesting requirements, diverse in their feeding and, basically, diverse in every way from one another. The one take home message is that there is no ‘ one fit solution for our native bees ‘.

Our project is multi faceted. Although we are an organic nursery and honey producer we want to go to the next level. We want to become Bee City certified and take the public with us on our journey. We must all learn and implement changes to protect our precious pollinators.

To see the full story on becoming nesting bee friendly follow the link.

So many people ask what is the best to plant for pollinators to feast upon.  I base my recommendations on published bee appeal values posted by universities.  I only selected plants that rated very good or excellent for bee appeal.  Also, we only selected native species since these species have developed special bonds with our pollinators.

Here is the listing:

  • Serviceberry
  • Canada and American Plum
  • Cherry
  • Ohio Buckeye
  • Eastern Redbud
  • Northern Catalpa
  • Indigo bush
  • Eastern flowering dogwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Basswood
  • Eldeberry
  • Honey locust
  • Sumac
  • Meadowsweet

We started growing this tree many years ago because its large, white, showy flowers was an obvious pollinator magnet.  Afterwards, the bright, red berries are eaten by over 50 species of birds and small animals.

Adult Flowering Dogwood
Adult Flowering Dogwood

Unfortunately, fate has not been kind to this small native tree of North America.  In Canada, it is only found in our part of southern Ontario and as of 2007 is listed as endangered.  It is estimated that less than 2,000 trees are left in the wild.  The main 2 reasons threatening this tree are loss of habitat and the introduction of a fungal infection, Dogwood Anthracnose.

As far as we know, there is no selection program being carried out to select resistant trees to the fungus and breed them as Anthracnose resistant stock.  We, at our nursery, have been experimenting with planting the dogwood trees in situations which in not conducive to the fungal disease, with success.

We love this pretty, little tree and will strive to keep up with scientific data and ideas to save it.  Only time will tell.