April 24, 2017

Bee Mine

Phacelia tanacetifolia - Bee's friend

Janine Pineo Photo | Phacelia tanacetifolia – Bee’s friend – Note in the lower left a pollinator is hanging out.

Phacelia tanacetifolia has a most descriptive common name: bee’s friend. This native of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico is now grown for many reasons, including as a cover crop and a plant to attract pollinators. It has a long flowering period, made possible by “long-coiling inflorescenes of nectar-rich flowers which open in sequence.” It also attracts hoverflies, which eat aphids and other pests. Beyond that, this heirloom is simply a beautiful plant when in full bloom. The clusters of lavender-blue flowers have whisker-like stamens that give it a delicate appearance, prompting another common name: lacy phacelia. So if you want to attract bees and other pollinators to your veggie patch, plant these about the plot. The insects will thank you for their dinner by making dinner for you.

This week we are featuring heirlooms grown by The Heirloom Garden of Maine in Montville.