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roses for bees

Posted by clanross 8b Mississippi (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 14, 09 at 9:14

This may seem a strange question, but I would like to know easy-care roses that are favored by bees. Do you have some roses that the bees love? Thanks! :)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: roses for bees

Rugosa foxy is carefree and seems to be very liked by bees.
Roses with no fragrance are usually also with no bees.


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RE: roses for bees

I would think that bees would be attracted to lots of stamens and pollen.


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RE: roses for bees

Bees LOVE sweetbriar. When it's in bloom, the bush actually hums with the sounds of the bees. They also adore James Mason. They'll pay pretty regular visits to all the other singles, too.


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RE: roses for bees

Thanks everyone! I am especially interested in the sweetbriars. I have a "baby" Manning's Blush. It is doing well, but is under 1 foot. I hope it blooms next year. It has quite a few petals, but I hope the bees like it anyway. I don't know about Rugosa roses down here. My mom had a beautiful Hansa in Indiana, but other than Blanc De Coubert (sp?) I have not heard much about them in this climate. I think you're right about the lots of stamens and pollen too. Mutabilis does get a few bees, but with salvia next door just can't compete. Would love to get my hands on some sweetbriar cuttings. Anyone have any to trade? :) Thanks again!


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RE: roses for bees

My climate is simailar here in north FL. I had wondered about rugosas too. I have rugosa alba now for several years. Very healthy and trouble free. Yes, the bees love it.

Not just lots of stamens and pollen but those with flowers that open wide to expose it. Katy Road Pink/Carefree Beauty, Cherokee Rose, and the local wild rose, that I can think of right now, always have bees here.


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RE: roses for bees

On a side note, someone at my rose club (after a guest speaker on bees) told me quite assuredly that "Bees don't come to roses."...I told him nobody told the bees in my garden. This rose society is dominated by exhibitors growing tightly coiled HTs where a bee would be hard pressed to find any pollen.

I have bees in my garden diving into Abe Darby blooms trying to find the goodies...

Eric


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RE: roses for bees

In my garden, bees flock to all of the singles. They are distracted by things like salvias, but they love those single roses -- and sometimes it's just a giggle to watch them try to force their way into some fat, many-petalled Old Rose.

Bees not come to roses? BOSH!
I know there is a serious beekeeper somewhere further up the hill here. I often wonder what changes the roses make in their honey.

Jeri


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RE: roses for bees

Roses seem to love all my roses. Comte de Chamboard and Heritage in particular. But really anything that is open and has pollen.


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RE: roses for bees

Bumble bees and honey bees love Carefree Beauty and John Clare in my garden. Both are bright pink if that means anything.


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RE: roses for bees

I often wonder what changes the roses make in their honey.

They may make little or no change to the honey at all. From what I understand rose flowers typically offer bees little nectar (the foundation of honey). The bees come for the rose pollen instead, which they also eat.

Since the bees are harvesting the pollen, single flowered roses are usually the ones that draw the most bees. Likewise since each extra petal is a converted stamen, the more doubled the blossom the fewer stamens there are, the less pollen there is, and the fewer bees the blossom is likely to attract.


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RE: roses for bees

They may make little or no change to the honey at all.

*** Well, that makes sense. But, then, if that's so, why do they sell honey specifically from bees working certain sorts of plants?

Like, you see "Clover Honey," or "Sage Honey," and around here you see a lot of "Avocado Honey," and "Orange Honey."
Is that just hype?

Jeri


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There seems to be a difference in the way the honeys taste, so maybe more than hype. Or maybe just the way it's processed and the power of suggestion.

We found it really interesting that different kinds of bees really seemed to prefer different roses. We had several different types of bumblers, but a particular rose would have one kind while its neighbor had another.

Eric, here's some proof for your rose club speaker. We could actually hear the bees from a fair distance away. The bushes were covered, and they were all going "MmmmmMMMMmmmmMMM!!!!!" (at least that's what it sounded like!) They were totally non-aggressive, and let us get up close and personal to take some pictures.

Sweet Briar & Bee:







Unknown (was supposed to be moyesii "Geranium") & Bee:







James Mason & Bee






The bees on poppies were a completely different type, and didn't seem to care much for the roses when poppies were available, but would drift over for an occasional palate cleanser. (I love the black bees on the orange flowers!)



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RE: roses for bees

Like, you see "Clover Honey," or "Sage Honey," and around here you see a lot of "Avocado Honey," and "Orange Honey."
Is that just hype?

No, it's not hype (at least not to me). To my tongue there are real differences in taste. For instance, to my tongue orange blossom honey has a slightly sweeter and slightly "cleaner" and lighter taste than clover honey. Somehow there's something less "grassy" about the flavor of orange blossom honey, and I prefer that.

I'm not 100% sure how those designations come to be, but I assume that if it says "orange blossom honey" it means that the hives from which the honey was drawn had recently been working in orange groves, and likewise clover fields for clover honey.

There is no question that the flowers of some plants do indeed produce nectar, sometimes in large quantities. It's just that what I recall reading is that rose flowers aren't among those flowers that offer much nectar. If I recall correctly, then what mainly attracts bees to rose flowers isn't the nectar, but the pollen. Bees, and certainly honey bees & bumble bees, need both nectar and also pollen for both provide them with essential nutrients and neither by itself is a complete food source.


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RE: roses for bees

Lucretia,

Thanks for the pictures. I have about 90% "bumblers" (love that word) in my yard. They've got the muscle to push their way into the many petalled old roses, although I did see a honeybee trying her darnedest to get inside a La France bloom...bless her heart :)

Eric


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heeeeelp Honey bee, bumblebee lovers! Are there any rugosas out there (need prolific bloomers and prefer either yellow, oranges, peaches or pinks) that bees are crazy about?


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ooops!

Intense fragrance is another requirement for the rugosa...(p.s. pinks do not include dark magenta pinks--I am wanting softer colors)


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RE: roses for bees

I think you may have some difficulty finding the flower colors you're looking for among the rugosas. Even R. rugosa alba is a brilliant white with no hint of peach or ivory (unusual in a white rose), and the pinks (the more common rugosa colors) are usually at least slightly lavender or magenta.

You might check out Fru Dagmar Hastrup.

More generally, my guess is that if you want a peach colored rose that attracts bees you should look for peach colored single roses of any sort. I suspect as long as the rose's blossom is a single or semi-double, regardless of the color you'll find it attracts bees. Speaking from personal experience I can attest that the York Rose (which opens very pale peach and then fades to milk white) attracts plenty of bees.


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RE: roses for bees

Lucretia---I love your pictures with the bees----Thanks

Florence


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RE: roses for bees

Belle Story, always covered in bees, even when surrounding roses are not. Maybe becsuse of all the stamens. Also Honey Perfume seems to get lots of bee visitors-Maybe they like the name!


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RE: roses for bees

Agreed on the singles idea. And in our FSC gardens, the very most attractive to bees seems to be the single musk rose, R. moschata. Lots of stamens and very strongly fragrant. And always humming with honeybees.


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RE: roses for bees

Thanks so much everyone. Frug Dagmar Hastrup looks great and Belle Story looks like a perfect candidate too because it has the soft pink in it. My only worry about Belle Story is that 2 sites rate it as strong fragrance and another as only light-fragrance. Which is it Poodlepup?

R. moschata looks really appealing to me too. If all hope fails and I am unable to get the Heidesommer rose I will have to get this one instead. Also what's tricky is I have to get the right R. Moschta; I have read that it often gets mixed up with R. Brunonnii.

You see I can't get white because I am already trying to get Heidesommer which is a prolific sprawling rose and has this gorgeous white/cream coloration (will take lots of room). I am still holding out hope that the cutting for Heidesommer will be successful. It can't be found anywhere except for Europe and Australia.


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If you're importing that cutting from abroad that needs to be done under an import permit from the USDA (the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service is the USDA agency that will issue you that permit). That way you won't accidentally import a new rose virus disease.

(Virus diseases often don't express their symptoms right away. The conditions of the import permit allow for the rooted cutting to be monitored in such a fashion that you don't accidentally import a new disease for us to suffer with.)


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RE: roses for bees

No, it will be from a kind forumer from the U.S who did offer. York Rose, I would think that a rose would die if it had to travel all the way from Australia and Europe. I have no idea how to get a rose from overseas either. I only think that vendors have this ability to import roses anyway, only they have the right packaging equipment, contacts, papers etc. to make such a thing possible.


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RE: roses for bees

Fru Dagmar Hastrup is a great rose. It's kind of off to the side in my garden, so I don't know if it's as much of a bee-magnet as some of the others, but I suspect it is with its wonderful single blossoms. Something sure fertilizes it--it's covered with gorgeous, cherry tomato-sized hips. It also gets nice fall color. It also seems a little more manageable in size than some of the other rugosas. An all-around great shrub. Nice shape covered with lovely foliage, gorgeous single blooms, then fall color and hips. And disease resistance, too--what's not to like?


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The best roses for bees are the ones that haven't been sprayed...
Having first said that:

Singles don't always work--I've never seen any bees on my neighbour's Knock-out (but maybe they spray?)
I had a General Jaqueminot one time that giant bumblebees would somehow burrow into (even though it's a very full Hybrid Perpetual), and I once (and only once) saw a huge climbing Old Blush absolutely swarmed with bees.

But my best ever rose for bees has been
MUTABILIS
(also called the Butterfly Rose, though it never seems to attract them.)
It is a single, and though it is usually described as having "no scent," here in the humid south the rose fragrance will actually waft through the air if you have a mature plant (mature meaning 3+ years and 8+ feet--yes it gets a bit big!)
It's incredibly low-maintenance (no-spray, no fertilizer, no water, trim it with the hedge clippers twice a year), but is a China so it's not very cold-hardy.


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Bees always go on my Austins, but seeing as how they are English roses with usually covered stamens, it's pretty hilarious watching the bumblebees feverish work endlessly to try to get to the center of the roses. They look like they are digging a hole for hours. I almost feel bad for them. They usually end up settling for just going to the base of the petals and trying to get whatever pollen they can from there.


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RE: roses for bees

  • Posted by garyt z4-5 N.E. Mi (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 2, 10 at 11:52

Honey bees collect what ever pollen and nectar they can get. Honey that is harvested from an area that only has very large fields of clover will get clover honey, a very good taste. Honey that is got from the paper bark trees is almost black and in not unsaleable. Honey that is labeled wild flower is from and unknown multiple sources.

Gary
ex bee keeper


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RE: roses for bees

R.moyesii - you can hear them long before you see them....and there are loads (bees, that is)


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RE: roses for bees

Actually I have asters and sedum and the neighbor has beehives, they tend to prefer those to any roses.

I have seen them on my single rugosas, but those only bloom once in the spring. very rarely later in the season.


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RE: roses for bees

Common Rugossa Rubra is always loaded with them they don't seem to care for glauca or Laxa or Pink Meidiland.


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RE: roses for bees

I've found that bees love all roses so long as the stamens are exposed. You can get that with pretty much any rose by not deadheading until the petals have fallen off. What are called "open bloom" in rose shows. Pretty much any rose will continue to open its petals until the stamens are exposed, if left on the bush long enough.

I used to do garden maintenance for a living and I was deadheading lots of roses. I learned fast I had to hold the flower from underneath when deadheading so any bees in the flower could escape without stinging my hand. You drop more petals on the ground that way, compared to grabbing the flower from above, but then you trap bees in your hand when grabbing from above.

There is indeed a flavor difference in honey from different flower sources. Domestic honey bees tend to go after one kind of flower at a time. When clover is available, that's what they go after. When almond is what's available, that's what they go after. Et cetera. But you have to have enough of one flower to keep a hive busy. When I lived in California we could get clover, orange, sagebrush honeys. Even eucalyptus, but that wasn't very good. Here in Washington we get fireweed and blackberry honeys. Eastern WA probably has sagebrush honey too.

I wonder if you can get rose honey in areas where roses are grown commercially in large fields ...


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RE: roses for bees

The bees seem to love the Pink Garnette. It has a lovely fragrance, but it is mainly the small bumble bees that I see on it.
kay


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RE: roses for bees

That's so interesting, Labrea, that your bees don't seem to care for your glauca. Mine is planted under my powder room window and has grown so tall as to completely obscure the glass. When glauca is in bloom, you can just hear the hum when you walk in that little space. But I think the hands down bee favorite in my gardens is Mary Queen of Scots, perhaps because it blooms so early when there are so few other choices yet in such a quantity. It attracts all types from honey bees to bumblers to little bee-imitation pollinating flies. I wouldn't say MQS is extremely fragrant, but those little open single blooms are plenty attractive to the insect set anyway.


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RE: roses for bees

Mine seem to like Lavender Lassie and Trier, but they're also surrounded by lots of other bee favorites. They really love the cosmos! I don't spray anything, but I also don't mulch...except with alyssum and other plants, so maybe that brings more bees in, too.

And they love the catmint and lavender! Hidcote english lavender works very well with roses, since it doesn't mind my clay soil and can take a lot of water :)


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I do not grow species roses and generally bees are rather indifferent to roses in my garden, except hybrid musk Ballerina and Golden Showers.

Rose companions however are bee attractors, they love lavender, foxglove, malva, origanum (I was surprised about how much they love this one), thistles, sunflowers, campanulas.


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RE: roses for bees

I have "Lyda Rose" right outside my kitchen window and this year I've noticed many bees-----I don't know if this year is any different or maybe I've been washing more dishes----LOL

Florence


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RE: roses for bees

For the original poster, R. bracteata is no spray, deep green foliage with clear white blooms with huge amounts of pollen and is a great favorite among bees. In my garden it isn't invasive; it is invasive in hot and dry parts of Texas.

To the open bloom lists, I'd add the single, deep red Vesuvius which might be available from Burling's out in CA. Also some chinas seem to be great favorites.

(Syrena, moschata will need major protection to survive in your zone.)

In east Tennessee, Sourwood honey is much esteemed. Odd name, it's from bees who harvest honey and pollen from the Sourwood trees.


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RE: roses for bees

I grow many, many different kinds of plants in my garden and see bees all over the place, hummingbirds, too. Not only honey bees and bumble bees, but also all sorts of non-social native bees. Pollination is good. I spray only once in winter when I prune and strip leaves. I don't do much in the way of stripping and pruning for the big ramblers once they attain their full grown, other than to remove dead growth. This is why I insist they must be healthy on their own if they are to live in my garden.

While the bees seem happy with my roses, their favorites are other flowers. They particularly love Teucrium chamaedrys, the low growing herbal germander. It seems to be the plant they love most. If you want to attract bees, plant this!

Rosefolly


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Please pardon my intrusion on this thread (I only grow a bare handful of antiques and at the time I first posted I had nothing valuable to contribute), but after sooo much careful online research, hunting local nurseries to look for which plants honeybees were actually visiting and spending hundreds of dollars trying to find the right plant for my honeybees, I think I should re-write here for those who have a dual passion for honeybees and roses. I finally had success (after 2 years of maddening disappointment with so-called bee-attractive plants) with a true honeybee magnet called Russian sage. It took just 2 plants to bring in the hordes! And Russian sage is supposed to be a great companion for roses....

Here are photos of my honeybees...

This is the first photo of a honeybee right before my Russian sage bloomed. Look how weak, emaciated the honeybee appears-- dull fur, faded coloration.

Just 9 days later after fattening up with Russian Sage...

Glossy fur, deep yellow stripings, stronger legs

Also another important thing. I think people often get mixed up between bumblebees and honeybees. Bumblebees can indeed like the roses mentioned in this thread, but honeybees are extremely picky. They won't even visit overhybridized flowering ornamental trees or fruit trees either. And the rest of my honeybee attractive rated plants ended up being abysmal failures. That is how picky honeybees can be. A rare rose can only attract a few handful at best, but not the hordes to support a hive the way Russian sage does.

Another gardener friend Debbie-RedSox recommended for me Holly (for bee horde potential) for spring and early summer which I need for the honeybees. What's great about Russian sage is the huge long bloom time mid-July to summer but I have nothing for Spring. The honeybees don't care for my flowering plum, the flowering Linden or the flowering honeysuckle-scented tree that I have in my garden. I will however be getting the Snow Fountain Cherry that my local nursery carried that was crowded with honeybees (they ignored the entire nursery except for that one tree). So hopefully the Holly will work (I'm planning that for 2012)

Here is also a really good link of honeybee plants from an international beekeeping forum for those of you interested in promoting the health of honeybees.

videos of bee magnet plants


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sentence error...

whoops I meant very long bloom season from mid-July to the first Snow (for Russian sage)


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RE: roses for bees

This spring I was weeding under my Okame cherry trees while they were in bloom and the noise of the little bees humming was so loud! I felt like I was inside a bee hive. Also when my pyrocanthia blooms, it is covered in blooms. Otherwise they seem to like butterfly bushes, salvia and other type of flowers. The bumblebees tend to like the roses.


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RE: roses for bees

Different honeybees have different hair coloring. That first bee most likely comes from a different hive than do the others.


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RE: roses for bees

They loooove Chickasaw plum blossoms here in Florida. They also love Crepuscule more than any other rose in my garden.


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RE: roses for bees

Hi York Rose, actually not. They are from the same hive. There are several reasons for this about why they are the same hive but it has to do with my garden, my neighborhood and how long I've studied their presence, plus the painstaking research I've done about honeybee lifestyle. Once the Russian sage was introduced the graduated changes I could see up to the final results of the nine days...

P.S. For 2011, I am also growing clover underneath tree areas rimmed by retaining pavers so that the lawn people will know where not to spray the herbicides at (we have home association rules for "pristine" lawns)and orderly pockets of lined clover I think is still "attractive enough" I suppose, lol! Honeybees don't like red clover so what I got was a combination of crimson clover and dutch white clover. The DWC is a true perennial-crimson clover is only a biennial and has to be replanted. Clover returns nitrogen back to the soil and is excellent for soil health. Wish me luck everyone that the clover seeds can grow successfully in those areas. I may try a single small patch amongst my roses as an experiment. I would like the clover to crowd out the annoying wood sorrel that I have to keep weeding out.


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RE: roses for bees

The bees seem to love my Morden Sunrise very much.


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RE: roses for bees

An adult worker honeybee won't change its coloring that dramatically in a couple of days, regardless of what it's foraging.

They don't eat nectar, so the nectar source is unable to change their nutrition that dramatically that quickly.

They collect nectar, then regurgitate it in the hive where other workers turn it into honey over the next week or two.

Look it up and you'll find that honeybees with predominantly grayish hairs aren't unhealthy.

They derive from a different subspecies (native to eastern Europe if I remember correctly) than the one most commonly used by American honeybee hybridizers (who tend to use bees derived from the Italian subspecies).

I studied honeybees as an entomology graduate student. There's lots I don't know, but they don't eat nectar and I've never heard or read anyone assert that they're hair color changes after they emerge from pupation. They aren't mammals and don't have that sort of mammalian physiology.


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RE: roses for bees

Hmmm, very interesting about the 2 different bee types. I thought it was the same hive for 2 reasons. Our neighborhood has extremely few bees to be seen, we do use a lot of chemical treatments and herbicides are part of neighborhood association practices. There's only my firsthand viewing and the photos. In the 1st photo after the "dull bee" the one 9 days (one week 2 days) later, it still has remnants of the paler yellow along its sides but its regaining the "shine". Also the ones with the super gloss were actually 4 days later so I did assume it was from the same hive. They just seemed to get progressively fatter and more active as time passed. My border collie was going crazy last year. She would stop in the middle of catching her frisbee and stare and stare, her head going in circles with all those bees flying around, lol! But again, this is just relying on my own visual observations, which is not! the most scientific of methods and all my research, lol, is online research, not real training with bees. I'm an internet browser for information, lol! not anyone with expert training like you. I did think that they do eat the pollen from what I've read from some of the beekeepers. They usually mix it with the nectar for feeding to their young or for royal jelly, but I think that bumblebees do eat pollen so perhaps some of the honeybees might have grazed while they were at it? Seems to me as honeybees collect some nectar it might still remain inside their system. You can regurgitate, but from what I know happens in humans and birds, part of that nutrition still stays in your own internal system. And glucose is glucose, very easy to be absorbed very fast. But as you pointed out bees are not mammals by any means...

I think we should also let our forumers know that honeybees can't see red so deep red flowers are on the outs. Also again, this is not a scientific observation at all, but bees seem to really like certain intense yellows or a certain light lavender purple. If a purple is too dark, they are not attracted to that as much as the pale purple. A honeybee will occasionally visit a lavender flower but it's only so-so about it. Anise hyssop has the very similar type of purple the honeybees also like. Perhaps the hue of having some purple is what is crucial to also attracting bees? again, it's all hypothesis on my part. I hear that heather is a wonderful flower for honeybees, lots of purple in heather, and I wish they sold it here in the States....


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RE: roses for bees

Adult honeybees eat pollen and honey. They make honey from the nectar they collect. Larval honeybees are helpless and must be fed by the adults in the hive. They either eat only "royal jelly" (a substance adult honeybees create inside their own bodies) - if the larvae are intended to become queens when they're adults, or just a little royal jelly and mostly honey & pollen - if they're going to become either workers or drones.

I expect that the honeybees you watched got fatter because there was lots of nectar offered by the Russian sage. It is indeed a huge nectar source and I've never seen it in bloom when it wasn't the focus of TONS of nectar eating/ingesting animals. Many plants in the mint family are likewise. I used to grow a bit of lavender and when I did so, even though I live in a small city that's been around for well over 150 years I would see some solitary bee (doubtless one of the many such native species) that I've never seen before, working the flowers along with honeybees and various bumblebees. LOTS of activity around those lovely lavender flowers!

Honeybees aren't native to the USA. The European colonists brought them. The bumblebees and solitary bees you see are generally honest to goodness natives.


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RE: deep red flowers

Well, honeybees can't see red, but I suspect if you had the ability to see those red flowers in ultraviolet light you'd soon realize that those flowers showed up anyway (many, many flowers are visible in ultraviolet light, which honeybees can see even though it's invisible to us). I don't know that to be true for certain, but I'd be very surprised if it wasn't so. In addition, honeybees are also guided by "nice" scents (more or less the scents we enjoy smelling), something else flowers usually produce if the intended pollinator is a bee. That would be another way a red flower could draw in a honeybee.

I do know the reds and oranges seem to attract the attention of hummingbirds, especially if the flowers are tubular in shape. Often such flowers don't produce scent and that seems to make sense as well since birds aren't especially known for having great senses of smell.

IIRC honeybees won't work red clover because the flowers' nectaries are out of reach of their tongues. There's no point in visiting a flower whose food is so deep inside the flower you can't reach it.


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RE: US heather nursery

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RE: (disclaimer)

I just found that website just now. I know absolutely nothing about this nursery beyond the very little I read on their website. I can't vouch in any way for the quality of their product or their service.


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RE: roses for bees

hi serena - i use clover between my fruit bushes as a living mulch. Am also going to use it under my new rose hedge - a mix of alsike and white clover stays really green and dense, keeps weeds out and doesn't compete with the roses or fruit. You can walk on it too.


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RE: roses for bees

Just not barefoot...... ;)


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RE: roses for bees

Whoo-hoo! Thanks so much York rose for finding that site! I have to email and call them because their list is soooo extensive, like hundreds to try to sift through-- it was making my head spin. They seem very knowledgeable about their plants and tons of color variety both! in the blooms and the foliage. If I do have success growing it I will update on it here and have bookmarked it. Heather is SUCH A GORGEOUS PLANT! And I'm sure people would love to have it in their gardens. I will have to ask the Peter Beales forum about why it hasn't yet been a garden plant... After all, us Americans are crazy about our "wildish" coneflowers, so I would think Heather would have the same appeal. Unless Campanula, do you have any idea about people trying to grow heather as colorful accents? The colors are so amazing and would looks so beautiful with roses!

P.S. today my local nursery brought in holly this week! and indeed the honeybees were going crazy over them, just like Debbie described. But yikes!!!! I always thought holly was a shrub, not an actual tree, lol! Holly can grow up to 14'!!! EEEKS! so now I'm trying to research for a dwarf version. The smaller version hybrid I saw was way too sprawly and I didn't like it as much as the original holly and it also had much less honeybees on it. There is one more dwarf version but it hasn't bloomed yet at another nursery. I have to be reaaaal careful about hybrids. Kansas honeybees are real divas, extremely picky. They refuse to visit any of my nepeta, as I had to explain to Debbie. York rose, I never worry about native bees or butterflies- they are so easygoing and carefree and I've always had tons of them in my garden. It's the diva honeybee which I worry about. For us organics people keeping them safe and well fed is crucial. It is a very protective thing that they are so obsessive compulsive in hyperfocusing only on their favorite plants and having bunches of food sources and a safe garden for them helps keep them safe from wandering into "dangerous territories". I am also extremely protective of my honeybees. I told my gardener friend Jim, that I am going to invest in a metal fly swatter, because the next time I see a yellowjacket dare enter my garden, you bet I'm gonna try to kill it, lol! Yellowjackets will prey on honeybees and I will risk getting stung if I can kill any :) Hopefully I will be as good as Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) with my aim, hahahaha!


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RE: roses for bees

I have a lovely hybrid Musk rose called "Erfurt" and let me tell you, the bees love rolling around amongst Erfurt's fluffy yellow stamens, lol.
Erfurt has become my favorite for a landscape rose. Just been pruning lightly in the dormant season so it's grown 5'tall x9' x wide. The flowers are huge and single, bright pink, fading to white in the center with distinct yellow stamens. Gives off a fragrance close to cinnamon.
It's leafy dark green leaves make the large pink flowers stand out, maybe like beacon for the bees and butterflies. When I remember to fertilize it's one of the most repeat bloomers.


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RE: roses for bees

rosedigger, what region of the country do you live in?

(I don't by any means want to know exactly where, I only am curious to know what region and what hardiness zone. Those two details have a big impact on how any given rose will grow. Erfurt may grow very differently in Tucson, AZ than it will grow in Seattle, WA, or Atlanta, GA, or Boston, MA, even though it may grow satisfactorily in all four regions, as long as those growing it want it to occupy a certain size & space in their respective gardens.)


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RE: roses for bees

I agree that single roses and those that open to expose their stamens attract the honeybees. One rose that hasn't been mentioned which is a bee magnet in my garden is Dainty Bess. What a beautiful, but tough, rose it is with its dark wine stamens. Dark purple Ebb Tide also attracts honeybees when its blooms open wide. Some perennials to consider are Jupiter's Beard (valerian) in red , dark pink, and white; coreopsis, Heaven's Gate and Sweet Dreams; and all types of coneflowers. Jupiter's Beard blooms early, and keeps on, if occasionally sheared, as well as the coreopsis, which starts blooming a little later. The biggest bumblebee magnets in my garden are all the double hollyhocks I grow. They crawl into the fluffy blooms in the evening and fall adorably asleep, staying till sunup the next morning. I could watch them for hours! Diane


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RE: roses for bees

I think Erfurt has a good chance to grow larger here without winter freeze.
My zone was 9, but I think it's been changed to 8b,9?
I really should find out and get it up here, thanks for the reminder. Living in California inland from San Francisco amongst three towns, what they call the Tri-valley, Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, California.
Winters can get as low as 25 but not often, and summer it can get up near 104 or so. Dry summers.



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RE: roses for bees

Yellow jackets can be difficult (and I didn't know they would kill honeybees) but I have noticed that since I have so many bumblebees in the garden...they yellow jackets have fallen back, a bit. Maybe there's a bee 'pecking order'?

Anyway, bumblebees seem to enjoy the perks of being #1. The get the tops of the sunflowers, while the yellow jackets sleep on the stems, in late summer. The bumblebees have moved into the front yard and kitchen garden, largely for the Hidcote lavender and catmint. The yellow jackets seem happy enough in the fairy garden, with the butterfly bushes and some coneflowers. In fact, they seem very happy on those butterfly bushes...almost a little drunk, if you ask me :)

Best of luck with your honeybees!


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RE: roses for bees

Lavender lass, Yellow jackets are baaaad for honeybees. They will raid a hive and kill the young. But you can't kill yellow jackets without endangering a honeybee hive unless you physically assault and stomp on a yellowjacket hive or do special organic trapping methods- no poisons are allowed in my book. Some people pour boiling water on yellowjacket nests on the ground, some do meat traps for the yellowjackets. Yellowjackets are a big concern to beekeepers and they do have to take active measures to protect their hives by using special netting that a yellowjacket can't get past.

yellowjackets preying on honeybees

The article shows some of the methods. For me, I'm getting the metal flyswatter, lol! Unless I indeed see a nest in my territory, grrrrr. But in many cases yellowjackets are preying on other insects, not just the bees. But also you may have a more benign yellowjacket species. I never see a yellowjacket on a flower, only at picnics pestering people. Bumblebees look large so maybe they are too big for a yellowjacket to go after.

Also I forgot to mention, many people mix up the carpenter bees with the bumblebees. Carpenter bees make big holes in your wood and are not good pollinators, unlike leafcutter bees and other native bees. I'm sure York rose can explain this far better than me. Carpenter bees will cut through the stamens of the flowers instead of pollinating They look exactly like bumblebees (warm fuzzy yellow and black striping) except they have black shiny backs to them. And yes, they will chase away yellowjackets because they are so huge.

Oh, by the way, I checked with the Peter Beales forum and Elemire at PB very kindly told me that she grows heather with her roses in a few select patches. Honeybees are supposed to really love heather and it makes honey taste really good. I was a bit worried about any invasive potential in heather but thought that maybe my heavy clay soil would keep them under control. This will be my first year growing heather and heath. I am going to go ahead and plant 2 tiny patches in my rose bed. Heather/heath is so gorgeous, and they would help soften my "lumpy, lopsided garden" as I call it :D I've seen photos of gorgeous heath and heather in Europe and I'm droooooling already.

By the way, bad news for me. Honeybees are afraid of rain. They would rather stay in a hive and starve than go out. I had been googling about this because I suspected this fact ages ago, but needed to reconfirm whether what I observed was true. I just hope I don't have the onslaught of flooding and non-stop rains like 2010. But so far the weather has been a far better improvement...

P.S. thanks to Pete Henshall from PB, I will get a rugosa next year. I hear that bumblebees like rugosa. The color of Roseraie de L'Hay is wonderful and the scent is supposed to be quite magnificent. I'll compare it with the other rugosa someone mentioned earlier. To me the telling point is if I see that honeybee on that actual rose in Google or else I'm gonna assume that rose is only suited for our cute, chubby bumbler, lol!


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