Nectar Sweeter When Bees are Buzzing
Nectar Sweeter When Bees are buzzing: Add flowers to your garden!
So here’s a question. Did you know flowers can hear very small sounds? Sure we’ve all heard that classical music makes plants grow better than heavy rock but seriously? Probably the first serious research to show the effect of sound on flowers was reported in National Geographic in January.
Everyone knows I love vegetables but this year I have an edible flower I am boosting and I am super stoked. So when I read about flowers increasing their nectar sweetness around bees I was even more excited. Imagine if my garden can supply sweeter nectar to bees so their visits are more efficient. The National Geographic article really got my senses buzzing.
“Within three minutes of exposure to these recordings [of bees flying ], sugar concentration in the plants increased from between 12 and 17 percent to 20 percent.” says a January 2019 article from National Geographic.
MICHELLE Z. DONAHUER’s article reports on research in Tel Aviv where local flowers are sweeter with the sound of bees buzzing. In fact the buzzing boosted the sweetness of the nectar a significant amount. This is exciting news for gardeners who are growing or want to grow flowers this summer. We already use our flowers to feed and bribe bees. And we already enjoy growing flowers to bring visual delight to our gardens and nutrition to our plates. Now we know our flowers are working with the bees, giving even bigger rewards when bees buzz by!
I usually write about things I have already tried… potatoes, tomatoes or special flowers I have known and grown. It is tough for me to write about things I haven’t tried growing yet. Luckily I already know nasturtiums, as a group, and they are an amazing garden flower.
So this year I ordered additional unknown kinds of nasturtium seed just for the fun of it. Because nasturtium is easy to grow, edible and attractive to bees and hummingbirds I wanted to expand my selection of climbing varieties along my fence. I also wanted some of the lower growing varieties to mound over my pots and planters.
You can’t go wrong with Nasturtiums in every climate. They are edible – leaves and all – and they attract hummingbirds and bees. The seeds, when pickled, make great caper substitutions. And best of all many kinds reseed right in the garden so once you plant them you have them forever. But the varieties available in stores and catalogues are limited to one or two kinds. And then I discovered Renee’s online catalogue and she has 15 kinds of Nasturtiums on offer and I want to try them all.
Climbing nasturtiums quickly cover fences and screens and I am especially excited about the Climbing Phoenix variety because of their unusual blooms that continue non-stop all summer. Now the only thing I don’t know is if Nasturtiums produce extra sweet nectar when the bees visit. But even if they don’t, they’ll delight visitors and other gardeners who walk by my yard. One lady told me last week she especially loves my artichokes and stops by to take pictures of them during the summer. I wonder what she’ll think of my nasturtium collection this year ?
I love helping gardener’s grow and beginner’s blossom. I’ll let you know my favourite kinds of nasturtium this fall. Meanwhile if you want to boost the bees then start growing flowers and they will change your world. Yay!
Donna Balzer is the Brand Ambassador for BCGreenhouse Builders and she has two greenhouses in her big backyard.
What Would Donna Do?
Get my growing and gardening tips and pointers throughout the season.