Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Hellebores: good pollen for emerging bees

This week has been brilliantly mild for February and the hellebores in the garden have burst into flower.  The bees are now travelling across from their field and loving the great loads of pollen the hellebores provide.  I stood and watched for quite a while yesterday and the bees seem to spend over a minute in each flower and come out covered in pollen. I would not normally advocate hellebores for bees as they are non-native but in the right soils (heavy) they are very hardy and would probably stand harsher conditions than the cosiness of a well tended garden. So I might have to rethink my priorities and consider how these would work in a field-based bee plot.

Anyway, I am glad of the boost they give both garden and bees right now.The flowers can have up to 60 stamens which unfurl a few each day and ripen with pollen.  The flower will continue to mature over several weeks offering really good value for the bees.