Flowers · Pesticides · Thoughts

Update & Flower list and when they bloom

Been mostly creating for the last two months so any research has been through doing, hence the lack of posts recently. As an update (more for myself), I am creating a digital booklet on InDesign with a screen printed poster on the reverse to be used as a guide to which flowers you can plant year round to help bees thrive.

The booklet will contain the illustrations i originally did, which started this idea in the first place, and information on when to plant seeds to get an annual bloom (hopefully). The illustrations, including the screenprint, are all completed and ready to be made, so all i have to do is design and make the InDesign document. Easy.

I need to develop a list of flowers im going to look at in my book and research them a little so this post is that research.

ASTERS
Daisy-like flowers that can bloom year round, depending on the type of flower. Plant the early to mid spring in full or partial sunlight. Can be eight inches or eight feet tall, again depending on type of flower. Comes in a variety of colours.
http://www.almanac.com/plant/aster

CROCUS
Goblet-shaped flowers that can bloom year round depending on the type of flower. Plant in early winter months in pre-fertilized soil that drains well and is in full or partial sunlight. Grows 2-4 inches tall. Comes in a variety of colours.
http://www.almanac.com/plant/crocuses

CALENDULA
A bright yellow/orange flower that can grow year round with the correct care. Plant seeds in early spring in soil that drains well and is in full or partial sunlight.
http://www.herbexpert.co.uk/growingcalendula.html

HYACINTH
Grouped open flowers on a stem that flower april-may. Plant bulbs in early autumn in well drained soil in full sunlight. Comes in a variety of colours
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=614

SNAPDRAGONS
Come in a variety of colours and heights and flower april-june. Plant seeds indoors early spring and move outside to well drained and fertilised soil in full sun once its warmer.
http://www.flowers.org.uk/flowers/flowers-names/q-t/snapdragon/

DANDELIONS
A self-seeding bright yellow weed commonly found in pastures, lawns, orchards and so on. Flowers in may-june and possibly again in autumn months. Help it thrive by not using/restricting the use of pesticides and weed killers in your garden.
https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/weeds/dandelion

LILAC
A very easy, usually purple, plant to grow that flowers in may-june. Can thrive in any soil type and should be planted mid-autumn.
http://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/shrub/lilac-care.php

HOLLYHOCK
A tall spire of flowers in different colours that blooms in may-june. Seeds should be planted in late summer/early autumn and will flower year after year.
http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/garden/594334/How-to-grow-hollyhocks

BUDDLEIA
Available in different shades of pinks and purples, this flower should be planted in late spring. The robust plant has bunched flowers that bloom from may-sept, giving a long flowering period.
https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/home-garden/gardening/plants/shrubs/how-to-grow-buddleja-plants

SUNFLOWERS
Tall, large bright yellow flowers that bloom in june-july. They should be planted in mid-spring roughly 30 inches apart to allow room for growth. Can grow up to 3m tall.
http://www.almanac.com/plant/sunflowers

BORAGE
A self-seeding herb that grows up to 30cm tall and had edible leaves. They bloom in june/july and should be planted in spring. Has blue flowers and dark green leaves.
http://www.herbexpert.co.uk/growingborage.html

CONEFLOWERS
Ranging from white to deep purple, these flowers bloom in June-Aug. They should be planted in late summer/early autumn and be placed in fertile soil.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/gardening-children-schools/family-activities/grow-it/grow/coneflower

BLACK EYED SUSAN
Can come in orange, red or yellow. These flowers should be planted in early spring and bloom from june-sept. Plant them in well drained soil in full or partial sun.
http://www.almanac.com/plant/black-eyed-susans

FOXGLOVE
These flowers should be sown indoors at first and be lightly pressed into fertile compost, not buried, as they require sunlight for germination. Plant outside in early autumn (or early spring if they are not large enough) for a bloom in june-sept. Comes in a variety of colours.
https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/home-garden/gardening/plants/woodlanders/how-to-grow-foxgloves

COMMON YARROW
These should be planted in spring for a bloom in june-sept in full sun and moist but well drained soil. Available in a variety of colours.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/311/Achillea-millefolium/Details

GIANT HYSSOP
Can be planted as seeds in early spring or planted as ripe cuttings in late summer for overwintering under cover. Blooms in july-august. Available in a range of blues and purples.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/details?plantid=5149

JOE-PYE WEED
A common weed that produces pale pink/purple flowers. Should be planted in early spring and bloom in july-august. Help them to thrive by not using/restricting the use of pesticides and weed killers in your garden.
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/joe-pye-weed/growing-joe-pye-weed.htm

GOLDENROD
Small bright yellow flowers on yellow stalks that bloom july-august. Can self seed and should be planted in early spring in full sunlight.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/96480/i-Solidago-i-Goldenmosa/Details

 

These are the flowers I’m using and the general information i’ll need for each one. Now i just need to get designing.

Bees · Extinction · Facts · Flowers · Population

“The London Pollinator Project”

Happened to be flicking through a magazine (Gardener’s World) in a waiting room when I came across this website: http://www.savelondonbees.co.uk. It is packed full of useful info so I thought I’d go through it.

 

Help pollinators in your green space:

  1. Use Native Plants
  2. Build a Bee Condo
  3. Mow your grass less often
  4. Don’t use pesticides
  5. Plant flowers in clumps
  6. Make a mini wildflower meadow
  7. Make a pond or a watering hole
  8. Create a deadwood pile

Plant bee-friendly flowers:

  1. Plant a variety throughout the year
  2. Plant singular flowers; most hybrid and double flowers are little use to bees
  3. Plant more purple flowers; bees have a natural preference to this colour
  4. Plant tubular shaped flowers (foxgloves, honeysuckle, penstemons, snapdragons). Easy acesss for bees
  5. Spring Examples: Bluebells, Bugles, Crab apple, daffodil, flowering cherry, forget-me-nots, hawthorn, rhododendrons, rosemary, viburnum
  6. Summer Examples: Aquilegia, Astible, Campanula, Comfrey, Delphinium, Sweet Pea, Fennel, Foxgloves, Geraniums, Snapdragons, Thyme
  7. Autumn Examples: Angelica, Asters, Buddleia, Cardoon, Cornflowers, Dahlias, Fuchsia, Globe Thistle, Heather, Lavender, Penstemon, Verbena.

Bee-friendly flower resources:

  1. http://www.rosybee.com
  2. http://www.beehappyplants.co.uk
  3. beekind.bumblebeeconservation.org
  4. http://www.lbka.org
  5. http://www.plantlife.org
  6. buzzaboutbees.net
  7. urbanbees.co.uk
  8. bbka.org.uk
  9. buglife.org.uk
  10. bumblebeeconservation.org

These simple practices will help pollinators dramatically:

  1. Let it grow: cut back less often and allow plants to flower. Let a section of your garden grow wild and do what it wants
  2. Do not disturb; Leave hibernating insects and nests alone and give them places to do so.
  3. Do not use, or try to use very little, pesticides: only use if absolutely necessary as they kill off bees

Why Bees matter:

  1. These pollinators are responsible for most of our food resources.
  2. It is estimated they contribute to over £400million per year to the UK economy and £14.2billion per year to the EU economy alone.
  3. Without them, hand pollination would be required, significantly increasing the costs of fruit and vegetables.
  4. There would also be a significant decrease in wild flowers and plants.

Why are bees in decline:

  1. Change in countryside; gone from colourful wildflowers to crops and livestock.
  2. The past abundance of wildflowers supported a greater diversity of wildlife
  3. Huge increases in human populations demand a huge increase in food productions, resulting in a huge loss in wild flowers. It is estimated that 97% of our flower rich grassland has been lost since the 1930s.
  4. Decline in flowers means dramatic decline in bees; 2 species of bumblebee in the UK have already become extinct and 2 others are endangered. The same goes for outside the UK.
  5. Further info on sos-bees.org, http://www.rhs.org.uk and TEDtalks on Bee Decline

This is all useful information that shows me what is already in place to help bees in London; I need to look around more websites to see what is being done elsewhere. I could also network with these charities and projects to see if a potential collaboration or something could happen. As mentioned before, I’d love to produce these books on behalf of someone.

SOURCES:
savelondonbees.co.uk

Bees · Flowers · Pollination

91 Flowers/herbs/etc that bees like

  1. Coneflowers
  2. Common Yarrow
  3. Sunflowers
  4. Giant Hyssops
  5. Horsemint
  6. Black-eyed Susan
  7. Asters
  8. Joe-pye Weed
  9. Goldenrods
  10. Dahlias
  11. Lavender
  12. Alliums
  13. Buddleia
  14. Catmint
  15. Foxgloves
  16. Honeysuckle
  17. Penstemons
  18. Snapdragons
  19. Bluebells
  20. Bugles
  21. Daffodils
  22. Flowering Cherry
  23. Forget-me-nots
  24. Hawthorn
  25. Pulmonaria
  26. Rhododendron
  27. Rosemary
  28. Viburnum
  29. Sweet peas
  30. Fennel
  31. Geraniums
  32. Potentilla
  33. Teasel
  34. Thyme
  35. Verbascum
  36. Cardoon
  37. Cornflower
  38. Fuchsia
  39. Thistles
  40. Heather
  41. Ivy
  42. Scabious
  43. Sedum
  44. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa)
  45. Lantana
  46. Bee Balm
  47. Borage
  48. Oregano
  49. Sweet Alyssum
  50. Alstroemeria
  51. Lion’s tail
  52. Penstemon
  53. Red Hot Poker
  54. Salvia
  55. Daisies
  56. Pussy Willow
  57. Apple/Crabapple trees
  58. Honeysuckle
  59. Strawberry tree
  60. Abelia
  61. Lungwort
  62. Comfrey
  63. Crocus
  64. Snowdrop
  65. Recurrant
  66. Chives
  67. Runner/Broad Bean
  68. Marjoram
  69. Kale
  70. Sage
  71. Raspberries
  72. Cosmos
  73. Calendulas
  74. Marigolds
  75. Primulas
  76. Rudbekia
  77. Hellebores
  78. Clematis
  79. Mint
  80. Hebe
  81. Echinacea
  82. Mignotette
  83. Thrift
  84. Sea Pink
  85. Sweet Williams
  86. Poppies
  87. Monarda
  88. Verbena Bonariensis
  89. Ageratum
  90. Echinops
  91. Digitalis

 

Sources used in this blog post:
-http://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/plants-pollination/view-all
-http://fafard.com/terrific-flowers-for-honey-bees/
-http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/plant-inspiration/plants-for-bees/
-https://www.foe.co.uk/page/28-great-plants-bees?gclid=CLzdsIaN49ICFQ0z0wodHyYE2g
-http://honeylove.org/top-30-flowers-for-bees/

Bees · Death · Extinction · Flowers · Food Chain

Trophic Cascade

I didn’t even realise this thing had a name.

Trophic cascades occur when predators in a food chain alter the number of prey available. For example, if there are a surge in the number of fish in a lake, there would be fewer smaller fish as more would be eaten, or vice versa. This would also have effect on the plankton available as it is not being eaten so will therefore be higher in numbers, taking effect on their prey and so on.

It is an ecological concept that is important in understanding the knock-on effects of removing certain predators or prey, which is what is usually a consequence of human activity (over fishing/pollution/etc).

top-down cascade is a trophic cascade where the food chain is disrupted by the removal of a top predator or a third/fourth level consumer.

bottom-up cascade occurs when a primary producer or primary consumer is removed and there is a reduction of population size through the community.

The theory was first introduced by Aldo Leopold. He first described the mechanism of a trophic cascade based on his observations of overgrazing of mountain slopes by deer after the human extermination of wolves. Nelson Hairston, Frederik Smith and Lawrence Slobokin are credited with introducing this concept into scientific discourse. Green world hypothesis argues that predators reduce the abundance of herbivores, allowing plants to flourish. This brings attention to the role of top-down forces (predation) and indirect effects in shaping ecological communities.

EXAMPLES:

  1. In North American lakes, piscivorous fish can dramatically reduce populations of zooplanktivorous fish, zooplanktivorous fish can dramatically alter freshwater zooplankton communities, and zooplankton grazing can in turn have large impacts on phytoplankton communities. Removal of piscivorous fish can change lake water from clear to green by allowing phytoplankton to flourish.
  2. In Pacific kelp forests, sea otters feed on sea urchins. In areas where sea otters have been hunted to extinction, sea urchins increase in abundance and kelp populations are reduced.
  3. A classic example of a terrestrial tropic cascade* is the reintroduction of gray wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone National Park, which reduced the number, and changed the behavior, of elk (Cervus elaphus). This in turn released several plant species from grazing pressure and subsequently led to the transformation of riparian ecosystems.

*Terrestrial trophic cascades were restricted to communities with relatively low species diversity, in which a small number of species could have an overwhelming influence and the food chain could operate as a linear food chain

bee-food-chain

Bee Food Chain

The one main thing in this food chain is the BEE – without them, flowers would die, meaning plants would die, meaning several species would die.

Their extinction would have a catastrophic effect on the ecosystem globally.

 

Anatomy · Bees · Facts · Flowers

General info on Bees

Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Subkingdom: Bilateria
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera (bees, ants, and wasps)
Suborder: Apocrita

Geographical location: Every continent except Antarctica

Over 10,000 species of bee exist and are classified into two groups: Social Bees (Honeybees for example) live in groups of over ten thousand, and Solitary Bees (Carpenter and Leaf-cutter Bees for example) live in smaller groups. Wild bees live in trees, bushes and in the ground where they build hives out of beeswax, leaves, wood or clay.

Given that there are over 10,000 species of bee, I need to eventually narrow down to a handful of species or just the one, probably the Honeybee.

Honeybees are the best known specie and were imported to the US during European colonisation. They produce beeswax hives, each holding over 10,000 bees. Carpenter Bees tunnel into wood, such as trees or even fence posts and have colonies that contain about 100 bees. Leaf-cutter Bees tunnel in wood and build from leaf bits joined by secreted glue. Miner Bees live in sandy tunnels in groups of several thousands.

Bees are 0.1 – 3 inches long and there are 3 types of Honeybee: workers, drones and queens. 95% of the bees in a hive are immature female workers, 5% are male drones and there is only 1 queen.

Worker Bee’s main body parts are the head, thorax and abdomen. The head has 5 eyes, 2 antennae and a mouth. 3 small eyes sit on top of the head arranged in a triangle and 2 compound eyes, which contain many six-sided facets, sit at the front of the head. This arrangement gives the bees keen eyesight. The antennae are the smell organs and protrude from the head. They are used to find food and to recognise bees that do not belong in their hive. The mouth consists of the tongue and jaws. The tongue is a long and slender lower lip and is rolled in a tube used to sip nectar from flowers. The scissor-shaped jaws cut and shape things or are used to bite defensively.

The thorax holds the wings and legs. The four wings beat over 10,000 times a minute and the front wings are hooked onto the back wings to work as synchronised propellers. This wing speed and synchronisation allows bees to fly precisely and carry more than their body weight in food. They have three legs on each side of the thorax which end in claws and sticky pads that allow bees to attach to flowers and walk upside down. Their legs and bodies are covered in fine hair that allow pollen to become attached to them, which is then transferred along their bodies using leg combs into pollen baskets on their hind legs.

The abdomen contains the most organs. Beeswax is made in the abdomen and collects on abdomen wax plates harvested by mouth and is used to build hives. At the rear of the abdomen is a stinger; it is 30% of the length of the bee’s body. In worker bees the stinger is barbed so that it will remain in the animal it stings. This is fatal to bees as most of it’s abdomen is ripped away when it frees itself from its victim. Queens have barb-less stingers and “stingless” bees and drones lack functional stingers.

Bees pollinate most flowering plants and thousands of plant species could not survive without them. In addition, the bee industry earns $60,000,000 a year through honey and beeswax. Even the beestings have their uses: it is believed that they can cure arthritis and rheumatism.

Sources used in this blog post:
Singer, S.S. (2016) ‘Bees’, Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science