Cleaning off my desk just before Christmas 2017 I found a 2017 seed catalog with prominently displayed flowers and flowering trees on the cover.  I thumbed through it and began thinking of my honey bees.  What would I like to plant this spring to help my bees and other pollinators?  So I hit the Internet and Google.

 

Below I condensed what I found with a few personal observations and many links to bee friendly sites.  There are a lot of sites listing bee friendly plants and each contains more links to similar topics so it is very easy to get lost and/or sidetracked.

 

Since I have horses as well as bees I did more detailed research on what trees and plants may be harmful to livestock.  I didn’t look at all the plants listed as “bee friendly” but I annotated those that I did investigate.   

 

I don’t imagine that you will plant many of the garden or flower plants in the middle of a pasture so the notes I made are just for information.  But if you do have horses, cattle, goats, sheep or other livestock it might be worth a quick query "{plant name} poisonous to {livestock name}" before spending money and time planting.  And making sure those beloved horses can’t get into the garden.

Most of the Bitterroot valley is in plant hardiness zone 5, with the lower levels in the valley in 5b and areas up on some of the benches and foothills moving into 5a and sometimes 4b which indicates somewhat lower temperatures in the winter.  The following link opens an interactive map showing plant hardiness zones in Montana and a list of Montana cities and many links to other weather related maps

http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-montana-2012-usda-plant-zone-hardiness-map.php

 

 

This link connects to a USDA publication showing many “native” pollinator friendly plants: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/mtpmcbr11694.pdf

I’m not sure if these plants or seeds can be obtained commercially or how they would fit into a

garden scheme but they are good to know and maybe if found growing wild on or near your

bees they could be encouraged.

This site lists wildflowers that can be grown in zone 5:

http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/ZoneListing.asp#5  Again, I’m not sure whether they can be obtained commercially or how “bee friendly” they are.

 

This site lists many bee friendly plants and a few bee hints: http://aces.nmsu.edu/county/valencia/documents/bee-friendly-garden-list.pdf

 

I annotated a little information on the list: like bloom periods and livestock compatibility and linked it below.  I will try to update the list.  If you have any additions or additional information on particular plants please email:

 

BITTERROOTBEES@gmail.com

ANNOTATED LIST pollinator friendly plants with information on bloom times, toxicity to live stock, and sources.

Another site listing a number of bee friendly plants.

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-to-help-honeybees

 

Articles in “Equus” magazine (https://equusmagazine.com/diseases/eqtoxic436-10129); (https://equusmagazine.com/management/10-most-poisonous-plants-for-horses-8208) list several trees and plants that are toxic and their effects.  These trees should not be planted in, or near horse pasture.  This is too bad since several of these trees are listed as beneficial to bees.

 

Yew (taxus sp.)
Oleander (nerium oleander)
Cherry trees and relatives (prunus sp.)
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Black Walnut (juglans nigra)
Black Locust (robinia pseudoacacia)
Horse Chestnut, Buckeyes (aesculus hippocastanum)
Oak trees, acorns(quercus sp.)
Russian olive, also known as oleaster (elaegnus angustifolia)

If you have a particular plant, bloom time, and source please email us so we can add them to the list.  

 IMPORTANT:  SOME OF THE PLANTS LISTED IN THESE SITES ARE ACTUALLY INCLUDED IN MONTANA'S LIST   OF INVASIVE SPECIES AND THUS SHOULD NOT BE ORDERED OR IMPORTED. 

WHEN IN DOUBT CHECK IT OUT

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