For the Bees

photoThe state of the honey bee population is dire, and gardeners need to do everything they can, no matter how small, to help these essential insects survive.

Hence, the hyssop. Not much of sacrifice to plant this beauty.  I don’t wear much pink but I love it in the garden, and this rich shade is so lovely. It’s called “Bolero,” and is a medium height(16″), so it’s a good size for my garden. The stems are dark purple and the foliage is clean-cut and attractive. Hyssops are hardy into zone 4b and very long-blooming. I highly recommend them.  Four-line bugs can ravage the foliage in late spring but they don’t kill the blooms. Depending on your idea of vigilance, you may be able to just pick off and kill the adult bugs.  And in my experience, the plants recover quite well as the summer heat increases and the four liners die off.  Overall, a definite win, as these beauties are otherwise low maintenance and definitely a favorite of honey and bumble bees.

Here’s a pic to show how the hyssops are sited, right behind the boxwood curve, and next to Little Bluestem grasses.photoDefinitely give hyssops a try. Just make sure the plants are free of neonicotinoids, or you aren’t doing the bees any good. This widely used insecticide makes the plant itself deadly to honey bees.  Neonicotinoids weaken the honey bee’s immune system and appear to cripple their ability to find their way back to the hive after foraging.  So chose plants free of these chemicals if you want to help save the honey bees, who pollinate more than thirty percent of all the foods we eat and are simply amazing creatures in their own right.

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