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Planting for a bee friendly garden australia


Hello, I just found a free pdf download from the department of rural industries. It’s wonderful! 320 pages and with colour photos of plants. If you want to go and get it, here is the link.
Happy Gardening :smile:

Planting forage & nectar flow for my area

We’ve been observing 3 colonies of bees which have colonized bird boxes in our garden, and are busy planting some more indigenous plants to complement herbs etc which are flowering now. They have been feasting lately on the profuse flowers of the echiums. If anyone has particular suggestions of good floral sources for bees, suitable for the Dandenongs in Victoria , I’d love to hear from you. The rural industries booklet is good but relatively short on actual plant suggestions.
Oh & the pollen from the echiums is blue! Please excuse the blurry photo the girls were very busy!
Having trouble uploading photo, can someone fill me in please?


When you have been a member for a bit longer and posted a few times you will be able to post pictures ; -)


Thanks sara, just wondered because of invitation to post it.


Hi Kirsten, Echiums are my favorite flower. Don’t the bees just love them? They don’t grow very well up here in Buderim. I’d suggest grow more Echiums, grevilleas, bottle brush, flowering gums, anything native that flowers. Whatever varieties your local nursery would suggest for your area.


Hi Jeff thanks for your suggestions, am involved with local Environmental Soceity/Native Nursery, but thought that people might have ideas of particular favourites as the echiums seem to be. Have just put in some Banksia & some poppy & sunflower seed. I just love having them in the garden I can watch them for hours.


So here are the pics of the bees on echiums, photo doesn’t do justice to the vivid blue of the pollen


Hi Kirsten, thanks for posting the photo, brings back memories of our visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. I was actually walking down some steps & smelt honey & heard the bees before I noticed the flowers. I couldn’t stop raving about them for ages after that, that was over 20 years ago. PS Kirsten, I have just one tip, make sure your house is bee proof, just for when one of those hives swarm, you don’t want a colony of bees in your wall cavity.


Hi everyone,
I have a heap of jacaranda trees in my local area that are about to flower. Is this particular tree any good for nectar flow? Does it make a good honey?


Love Jacaranda’s really miss them


Hi Jeff thanks is an old house & difficult to make bee proof but have been watching them. Two colonies have already swarmed, one of which we were able to catch ( we called a bee man to come & he left a swarm trap), would love to have been able to keep them as our own first hive but finances don’t permit us setting one up presently. The other I watched from the roof as it disappeared over the horizon.
Why do the bees ignore some flowers? Is it because of what is happening in the colony at the time or do they usually just collect nectar & pollen from all available? We presently have jasmine, honeysuckle & daisys in flower amongst other less prolific flowering plants, & there are no bees to be seen on any of them.
Thanks Valli for the link too, hoping to get things in before gets too hot, even if only some annuals


Hi Kirsten, with your house, you just need to make sure there are no gaps leading into a good size cavity. That cavity could be long & thin like a wall cavity between the studs or between the floor joists of a two story house, under a bath tub. Those kinds of places. I get asked the question quite a lot, why do bees ignore some flowers?, or even a whole garden, for that matter. It’s all about bees communicating inside the hive the best honey source. Once the scout bees find a good source of honey, they wont deviate from that unless another scout bee finds something better. Most times when you see bees leave a hive & fade into the distance, those bees already know where they’re headed because of the “language of the bees” or the “waggle dance”. Dr Karl von Frisch, a Nobel prize winning Austrian scientist discovered the language of the bees.


Jeff is right. Bees prefer nectar rich flowers and there might just be something better nearby.
In the summer and in the autumn, when the ivy is out I seldom see bees in the garden.


@Kirsten_Redlich many of the annuals are Hybrid and have no Odours or Interest to bees in terms of Pollen or Nectar - Saw a very interesting lecture yesterday at our National Honey Show about this - real eye opener


Thats a good point Valli, I try to use heirloom varieties where possible & have many that I’ve been collecting seed from over the years going back to my Grandparents gardens. Am very fortunate to live on a large block with an established garden with a mix of european & indigenous plants, majority of which seem to attract the bees. However after having had the opportunity to watch so many of them enjoying the echiums so much, I want to find more plants that will sustain the activity. I am greedy for their presence! At the moment the lemon, apple & cumquats are coming into flower ( but not very profuse) & the bees are enjoying them. The ivy is a little way off from flowering yet, but they do enjoy it, I think thats what attracted them in the first place from memory.


Your local Garden centre should have a list of Australian Natives that are bee friendly and the list I placed higher up on this topic should help.

If you have European plants available go to the RHS - Royal Horticultural Society site - they are promoting Pollinator friendly plans from UK and Europe that you may be able to obtain and the growing conditions of most will be fine in Victoria.

The times will be back-to-front for you but the list is there - follow the seasonal list not month list https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/pdf/conservation-and-biodiversity/wildlife/rhs_pollinators_plantlist


That’s so true of many “showy” garden flowers. The reproductive parts have been engineered into yet more coloured petals


Thanks Valli will take on all suggestions. I have a passion for gardening & landscape but over the past year since the arrival of the bees I have been observing these in a whole new light, another aspect of gardening & interaction to experiment & learn about.


G’day @Kirsten_Redlich, are you aware of a ground cover plant that people use in landscaping that produce little blue flowers, the bees love them. Also a small tree that really flowers heavily up here is the Golden Pender. The honeybees love them but in particular, the native bees really love them. I think the Golden Pender is native. Sadly the flowering only lasts a short period but when it does, it’s magnificent. You wonder where all the native bees come from because every Pender in the area flowers at the same time & are all covered in them. I shook my head in horror/confusion the other day when a bloke told me he cut his beautiful g. pender down because the flying foxes were making too much noise in it during it’s flowering period.


I just looked up the Golden Pender, it’s incredible & I can imagine the bees would love it, I’ll have to do some more research into it’s likelihood of succeeding down here, but even if I can get something in the same family perhaps? Although the climate in Vic is changing! Am investigating the blue flowering ground cover too, any hints on flower structure Jeff, might help in identifying.
It is sad when people don’t understand the full implications of their actions regarding the impact of removing flora or fauna. We had such an amazing diverse ecology here, with an established population of canopy trees, established & mature eucalypts. These are now rapidly disappearing because people want a better view of Melbourne or they don’t want to have to clean leaves out of their swimming pool, or because the birds & animals that live in them create ‘a mess’. We are losing so much so quickly. I hope the present interest in bees can stimulate a further interest & understanding of the environment, plants & animals.