wanted: bumblee-honeybee lovin' roses: rugosa???

serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)September 23, 2009

o.k. my future goal is to have enough flowers to raise an actual bumblebee hive in my yard. This may take a few years to gather enough flowers to support the hive and to have a yard that is so attractive to the bumblebees that they won't stray to my neighbors and get killed by all these insecticides.

But here is the problem. I love roses but bees just aren't that crazy about roses. It's me who's crazy about hybrid teas and crazy about bees so it's a clash and conflict. The only time that the bees ever come by is when Mr. Lincoln is in bloom and only then will they occasionally wander off to visit the other roses, but it's Lincoln which has to lure them in.

One rose that is famous for attracting bees is Heidesommer. It is a very rare and difficult to get rose which is not available in the U.S. or Canada. A kind forumer from New York is going to try to root a cutting for me. This Heidesommer is not a hybrid tea, LOL! so indeed I am expanding my taste in roses for roses that bees love.

Maureen mentioned that rugosas have good disease resistance. I saw a beautiful photo of Agnes but I am not sure whether it is fragrant and whether it is deeply attractive for the bees. I have space for about 2 rugosas. What I am dreaming/hoping for is that those 2 yet-to-be-planted rugosas and the Heidesommer (cross my fingers for the cutting) will allow me to have this bumblebee hive.

What is crucial is a very heavy repeat bloomer (so that the bees are continually fed) with lots of fragrance and which does attract tons of bees-I'm not talking about a handful-I want a crowd of bees. Does any one have any personal experience with a rugosa that has these qualities? I am really depending on those of you who grow these rugosas. Often times you'll just find a lot of advertising hype. What counts I feel is people who really specialize in raising rugosas.

Here is the Agnes rugosa.

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If you want a bumble bee magnet so strong that the bees will even try to pollinate a none fragrent mini check out the Gaura lindheimeri:
Flower time early mid spring - mid fall (maybe even longer too)
30 - 36 inches tall X 24 - 26 wide,
very narrow long stalks droop and sway in wind or do the bumble bee shuffle.

Available in early spring at a good garden center or mid summer at a home depot lowes garden depts

Prior to planting do bust up the pre potted peat moss mess they have em in. Water frequently untill it establishes, it looks like it will die continue to water untill it bounces back, then and step back and watch the long narrow stems plow up and out and re flower

Comes in a all white flower and as well pink with white white flower ( get the pink/white if you asking for my vote )

The stems will drop on the ground during periods of rain but the bees wont mind to much
by far the most effective plant for bees I have. It even out attracts a mexican mint by 10 to 1

Honey Bees should be on the endangered species list I only got a glimps of a few on the Gaura and zero on the mint

mexican mint is also effective but it wont be the plant for you or your roses it's a field flower I don't think you want it running it's muck in your rose bed unless you have the space for one or two It hasn't been proven to be winter hardy in zone 6 or 5 b and doesn't flower as long as Gaura

The only problem I have with Gaura is I don't have a pic to show it, but I can fix that later
not the right forum but:
If and only if you want or have a specail space that needs a touch of shade somewhere else there is always a frindge tree 25 - 30 feet high grows best at the side of a pond or lake needing the early 6 - 7 hours of direct morning sun a short flowering time happening promptly after a dogwood tree for 3-5 weeks. A very fragrent multiple small white hanging flowering display If you want it to berry you need a male and female it's only draw back is a short 20-25 year life span. At very least give one a sniff when you pick up that Gaura if you can

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 10:59PM
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I refferance this as the starter garden or a CCU for perenials that problematic Mr Lincoln Red will be sitting where the Gaura is

front view

top view

front view shows mexican mint in far back right
Also effective for bees and butterflies is scabosia blue I had one in this garden but an intence full day sun does not not serve the scabosia well perenial. Dianthis also does well comes in many colors and different heights it too is my idea of full sun sensitve it does best in a cooler dryer soil uncertain if it fits in with the watering of roses blooming twice once in mid spring and again in late summer very sweet fragrence youll like it more than the bees but is also effective

Garden Phlox and summer Phlox take last place when it comes to bee attracting butterflies yes again phlox is better grown in a smaller to med sized field

I have one last weapon for the bees it hasnt flowered yet but soon will Fall Daisy even though bes do slow down this time of year some will still be seen on it odly shaped to grow round fall daisy likes it dry does require seasonal leaf plucking as they turn yellowish brown and prunning to keep the shape as well Draw backs are if it gets to wet the oddly balanced stalks fall to the ground a 4 x 4 round is going to keep itin a round strong shape a very good grower after it's second year

bulbs won't do the trick for you if it's annuals you are looking for sorry I don't have a single one

Fruit tees will be effective in the order of Apples Cherry then Plum but the frindge trees are the most effective for me

Keep them roses looking beutiful please try avoid any form of climbing vines IE climatis honey suckle ect ....

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 10:23AM
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I do not see crowds of bees on any of my roses. Just a few here and there. There was a recent thread on the Antique Rose forum about attracting bees. Many posters reported seeing them mostly on fragrant, single-flowered roses. See link below.

What DOES attract tons of bees are two perennials that are fantastic companion plants for roses: Nepeta (catmint) and calamintha (calamint)

Here is the rose Petite Lisette with catmint to the right.

I would not recommend this rose as it was a blackspot disaster all summer long, which to me is unforgivable in a once-bloomer. Vintage Gardens claims they will offer over 1600 varieties this year, so Petite Lisette has been warned about how easily she can be replaced.

In my garden, other top perennials for bees are Pycnanthemum muticum (Short-toothed Mountain Mint) and Monarda (bee balm).

I hate to tell you but I don't think Agnes is supposed to be that healthy. Apparently she is prone to blackspot, as are some of the more heavily hybridized rugosas. My favorite rugosa is Roseraie de l'Hay.

Here is a link that might be useful: Roses and Bees Thread

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 11:54AM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Thanks very much!! Maureen for the Link! I will have to add questions to that link too! I have a funny story about my catmint. I got it to attract the bees but instead it eventually must have attracted a kitty who rollllllled all over it one fortnight. It went from a beautifully shaped little bush (I used to be so proud of it because most catmint in Kansas nurseries look very messy and straggly) but now it looks like bedhead catmint with plenty of major stems squashed up by the kitty. In my garden, all the supposed-to-be-bee-attracting herbs in my garden are not doing a very good job, LOL. I always have to wait for my Lincolns to bloom before any start coming to my garden. My dwarf bee balm only attracted the tiny native wasps but I love its shape/color and will try to grow more next time, maybe there needs to be more bee balm to attract them. What I have come to realize is that certain bees in certain locales don't have the same tastes in flowers. My friend Boxofrox's bees love Rose of Sharon, my Dad's honeybees/bumblebees hate it and prefer of all things--begonias!!! They also love his clover, honeysuckle (of course), and lilacs. I am seriously considering heather, the bee balm and your Pycnanthemum muticum for one particular area of my garden. I need very invasive plants in that area that can deal with tree roots.

Wes, thank you for suggesting Guara. I am enjoying those flowers and they have their particular charm! I usually like very upright tightly formed plants however, LOL! as you can tell--I'm so particular about hybrid teas and such because they are very tight and upright in configuration. Wes you are definitely spot on in that honeysuckle and roses are a very bad match together and that bulb plants aren't much good in attracting bees.

Wes don't plant Lincoln where Guara is! it will suffocate Lincoln unless you extend your borders. Lincoln needs a full 3' x 3' width. It is a GIANT! of a rose and needs all the unhampered room in order to grow properly and flourish. I also know a little bit about architecture because I have worked for architectural firms several times. Foundational blocks often run past what is visible cement-wise. That cement will interfere with your Lincoln's root systems. It will be a very unhappy plant. You actually have to move out your borders by a few feet to make sure you have enough clearing room away from the cement. If you do this then you will be fine and you can grow Lincoln there.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 3:32PM
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Yes indeed serenasyh I am very aware that things will get ugly befor they get beutifull a four by four is very important and I prefferance four feet down a make sure of any type of root being removed all that dirt comes out and gets reused I wont need a nice lawn this winter so yeah it too if in the way my grass grows like weeds here like weeds here only it makes better compost. The Guara is the first thing coming out ( off to the butterfly garden it goes) ditto to the summer phlox and a small shift of at least one of two minis.

Mr Linclon will be set in the equivalent of a pillow top bed if it was a human.
A ready compost heap and the basic mixings are all set for next weekend to conduct a site pre prep, after a spring soil test of PH and NPK and a very ready predug water checked hole Mr Lincoln will be moved to his new hom it'll be dug in the same manner as the site prep over a two day period covering the rootball area with hay untill the second day to expose his roots they'll be trimed if needed and then replanted. I am going to work it slow for 6 weeks and step it up as it shows it's growth. A bit of honesty I don't have any bussiness pushing it at all ( yeah it's that bad )

Armed and ready as you suggested and I am looking foward to good results

Ill get a pic of how he sits today and when Mr Lincoln does his happy dance I'll post the befor and after pics

Even if he only gets two feet more in height and maybe a couple new canes I'll be very happy

Only two last problems ( nothing you suggest will help me here) One: I will have to find a new home for the bench folks. Two: one of two minis or both will also get shifted, the Mrs isn't going to be to happy about this but zero competition is zero competition

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 7:57PM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Hee-hee, the good thing with minis is that many can be grown in a very large pot and can adorn the front doorway, in front of steps, etc. etc. Yeah, the poor minis would be dwarfed by giant Lincoln. I'm actually facing this issue because my Tiffany is abnormally tall for a 1st year own-root rose (it was planted this May!!!!). It is trying to be as tall as Lincoln (7') so that Lincoln doesn't eclipse/literally over shadow it. My Tiffany is at least 5' tall.

Be sure when you transplant your Lincoln to buffer transplant shock with a super dilute mix of sea tea. One tbs.-1 gallon mix. Transplanted roses need that extra moisture in the soil. It helps with transplant shock. Your soil preparations and soil test sounds totally AWESOME!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 9:06PM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Everyone I have got to have this plant. I need something really strong and invasive to grow near my ornamental plum and then I found Fireweed from Dave's Gardens Newsletter! I'm real excited about this. Has anyone heard of Gurney's Seed & Nursery Company. Are they reputable? What seed growing companies are the best to order from?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 6:17PM
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serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

...That fireweed is a plant that bees love, which is why I'm so excited about it.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 6:18PM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Thanks to all of you for your nominations of bumblebee flowers -- I love bumblebees, so must try some of those!

But I'd like to make sure that no one takes serenasyh too literally when she says that she wants to "raise a bumblebee hive." (I assume she means she'd like to make her yard so attractive to bumblebees that they will nest there.)

Sorry, fellow bumblebee lovers, but they can't be domesticated and raised in actual hives like honeybees. They're wild bees that nest in holes in the ground. So the best we can do is plant flowers that they like, and leave some wild areas where they can nest.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 10:33PM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Serenasyh -- you're right, fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) is a strong grower! When we were in the UK this summer, I noticed patches of beautiful pink flowers growing along the railroad tracks, and wondered what they were (it was a little hard to tell at 60 mph or whatever). I finally got a good look at some, and they were what's called fireweed here (though in the UK they're apparently called rosebay willowherb).

Judging by what I saw along the tracks, they spread mostly by roots, because there would be just a patch here and a patch there (though some of the patches were fairly large). I've read that they also self-seed, but I figure if they could spread very readily by seed, there would have been a lot more of those patches.

As for Gurney's, their ratings on Garden Watchdog is not all that good. You might want to check out a nursery that specializes in native prairie plants (see link below).

Here is a link that might be useful: Fireweed at Prairie Moon Nursery

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:13PM
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(new poster to this forum)

I will second the catmint as a powerful bumblebee attractor. I have some and I notice bumbles and honeys on it early every morning. As a matter of fact, I was planting some new roses and went to get some compost from the bin and as I was shoveling the compost out of the bottom door, noticed a lot of bumblebee traffic coming and going from the bin. It turns out they have nested in the bottom of the composter. I have decided to let them bee (sorry, couldn't resist) because I wouldn't know how to attract them if I were trying to lure them, so I might as well enjoy the fact that they chose my yard on their own. I figure it is good gardener karma.

I will just leave that composter alone this year and use the other.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:29PM
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donaldvancouver(cool wet z8)

If you want a bee "hive" that's much lower maintenance than a honeybee setup, think about putting together a mason bee condo. These bees are native, very effective pollinators and have a very interesting life cycle. Your local nature centre or perhaps your garden centre might be able to help you get it established.

Here is a link that might be useful: wiki orchard mason bee page

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 8:49PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

Roses do attract bees. However, you have to grow roses with the right bloom form. If you look at species roses, you'd see that they generally have a "single" bloom form, five petals with a large boss of stamens in the center.

The modern repeat blooming roses are just as attractive to pollinators as the species roses. Most roses with a single bloom form or semi-double bloom form open flat with that boss of stamens that makes the pollen available to the bees.

I grow a rose called 'Lynnie', hybridized by Kim Rupert that is generally covered with bees all through the growing season. I have to dead head the rose at twilight to avoid being stung. You can almost see the bees wallowing around in the stamens in what must be pure bliss to a bee.

I've attached a link to a photo I uploaded to HMF, but if you click on the rose name, it will take you to the rose page and you can read the breeder notes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lynnie on HMF

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Here bees tend to go on everything, they seem to like a lot of the roses that rather quickly open to reveal the yellow center of the pollen carriers. A hedge of rugosas doesn't seem to be able to compete with the heather when it comes in bloom, or some trees. They like clover very well. There are alwasy wasps and bees in the rugosa hedge, but not loads like some trees. It might be because of the amounts of flowers it gives at one time, and not more than a few workers are needed to cover the hedge. The hedge is not kept at all though, it has fended for it's self for decades. The climbers here with most bees is probably Sympathie, Parkdirektor Riggers, New Dawn and Golden Showers; all old tried and tested varieties.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 8:53AM
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