cosmos, an easy annual late summer bee forage

flowerbug

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i try to grow these often because any time they are flowering they are usually busy with a lot of different types of bees and other nectar feeders. i'm writing of the yellow, orange, reddish tinted flowers/mix you can often find at the store for not much $.

they are planted once the ground warms up (for us that is mid May to later May) and they start blooming about a month to six weeks later (i've actually never kept track of how many days between planting and flowering but this seems about right in my guesstimate). they will flower right up until it gets too cold for them (a hard frost will knock them back, let them dry for a few weeks).

they give off tons of seeds too. very spiky seeds so be careful grabbing them. they'll stick in cotton gloves and go through socks without a problem and hurt if you stick yourself hard with them, but you can usually manage to harvest them barehanded without sticking yourself if you don't squeeze hard. :)

unlke the other cosmos these will easily reproduce for our area and length of season. the other cosmos we grow (white, pink and red flowers with a more frondy habit to the leaves/growth) do not finish soon enough to give many seeds.
 

Lazy Gardener

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Care to put your general location or even growing zone in your profile? I do a brain scramble every time you post garden related stuff, trying to relate it to my climate.
 

milkmansdaughter

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@flowerbug will cosmos reseed themselves? I had forgotten about cosmos, and I'm glad you brought it up.
When we first bought this property, bees were high on our list, and we've been trying to add more bee friendly plants every year. We want to start our own hive, but we want to make sure there is plenty of food for them here first. I need to look into more native plants.
I'm hoping to add our own hive this spring.
 

flowerbug

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@flowerbug will cosmos reseed themselves? I had forgotten about cosmos, and I'm glad you brought it up.
When we first bought this property, bees were high on our list, and we've been trying to add more bee friendly plants every year. We want to start our own hive, but we want to make sure there is plenty of food for them here first. I need to look into more native plants.
I'm hoping to add our own hive this spring.

IMO they are very easy to grow, give them some disturbed ground here or there, scatter some seeds and rake it a bit to mix the seeds around and you're all set. pull a few weeds out as needed once in a while.

i don't think they'll reseed too easily into a fully overgrown field, but you may get scattered plants able to pop up. i like using them as a more dense planting because that helps keep weeds down. they are also pretty good soil conditioning plants for the first 2-8inches of topsoil. to get a more dense planting you want to have enough bare soil to plant enough seeds for that.

i planted about 300 seeds and of course not all of them survived or gave seeds back but i now have several thousand seeds (and a refreshed stock). my last grow out of this batch of seeds was several years ago so i wasn't sure how well they were going to do. glad to see they came through ok.

they are easy to find in a lot of seed racks and not expensive so i wasn't worried about losing them or anything, but nice to have them handy and not have to source them again and so i can give more away this winter. :)

i always try to find plants which fit within gaps of flowering sequence so there are always something flowering around from before the snows stop until after frosts.

i have some early irises and crocuses which come up through the snow and then some small tiny weeds/flowers that are out very early too. the later summer things are tougher, asters and some clematis, cosmos, thymes, mints. i like increasing diversity if i can. also some plants can really go nuts so you want to be careful with them (mint family plants lol). i've never actually looked this up and am curious if oregano is considered a mint family plant or not... hmm... :)

good luck with your bee plans! :)
 
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milkmansdaughter

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Yes, oregano is in the mint family. We have both growing here also. I need to do a study on what's native to here, since I've only been here 2 1/2 years (we've had the property 3 years.)
We have the same goal as you regarding having things blooming as early and as long as possible with a great diversity. We've been adding more every year. Dahlia, sedum, and cockscomb were added this last summer. We also have daffodils, tulips, lots of Iris and daylilies, Canna lilies, Asian lilies, several flowering shrubs, roses, clover, amaryllis, honeysuckle, Cyprus vine, morning Glory, 4 O'clocks. (I'm sure I'm missing some!)
I haven't been planting many annuals these past few years, focusing instead on getting the orchard, garden, and berry plants established, and trying to add things that would naturally return every year. But I would like to start planting zinnias, cosmos, bachelor's buttons, mums, etc. And I want to add daisies, black eyes Susan's, and cone flowers. I've got seeds and bulbs for tiger lilies, more dahlias, more cockscomb, gladiolas, and hollyhocks for next spring.
 

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Yes, oregano is in the mint family. We have both growing here also. I need to do a study on what's native to here, since I've only been here 2 1/2 years (we've had the property 3 years.)
We have the same goal as you regarding having things blooming as early and as long as possible with a great diversity. We've been adding more every year. Dahlia, sedum, and cockscomb were added this last summer. We also have daffodils, tulips, lots of Iris and daylilies, Canna lilies, Asian lilies, several flowering shrubs, roses, clover, amaryllis, honeysuckle, Cyprus vine, morning Glory, 4 O'clocks. (I'm sure I'm missing some!)
I haven't been planting many annuals these past few years, focusing instead on getting the orchard, garden, and berry plants established, and trying to add things that would naturally return every year. But I would like to start planting zinnias, cosmos, bachelor's buttons, mums, etc. And I want to add daisies, black eyes Susan's, and cone flowers. I've got seeds and bulbs for tiger lilies, more dahlias, more cockscomb, gladiolas, and hollyhocks for next spring.

zinnias and marigolds are easy too. i tried to come up with a complete list a few years ago but i know this is not all of it and now it is missing some things too or items have changed:

ah, got it to work this time. :)

aconite
alfalfa
alliums (blue, purple)
asters (purple, white)
astibile (red)
babies breath
bachelor buttons
baptisia
beans (...a lot...)
bearded irises (dark purple, purple, lavender, pink, yellow, yellow white,
yellow purple white, maroon, miniature light blue)
bee balm (red)
bergamot (purple)
blackeyed susans
buckwheat
buttefly bush (white, purple)
butterfly weed (orange)
catnip
chicory
chives
clematis (pink white, purple, red, white)
clovers (pink, red, white)
comfrey
cone flowers (white, pink)
cosmos (two types (yellow, orange, reddish) frondy (pink, white, red))
creeping jenny
creeping phlox (pink)
crocosima (red lucifer)
crocus (yellow mammoth, dark purple, purple, striped purple and white,
white)
daffodil (a lot)
daisies
dandelion
daylilies
dollar plant
dutch iris (white, blue and yellow, reddish, lady beatrix stanley)
early iris (yellow, purplered, ...)
flashing lights
flaxes (yellow seeds annual, black seeds perennial)
forget-me-nots
garlic chives
geraniums
hedge mustard
hollyhocks
honeysuckle
hyacynth
joepye weed
lavender
lavender mountain lily
lilac
lilies (red, yellow).
lily of the valley
love in a mist
milkweed
mints
moss roses
onions (cross-breeds, red, white, yellow)
oregano
peas
pennyroyal (mosquito weed, mints)
peppers
perennial poppies (red, orange)
pinks
poppies (perennial and annual)
queen-annes-lace
radish (daikon)
russian sage
salvia
sedum
shasta daisies
squash
strawberries (june bearing (honeoye) and ever bearing (ozark))
sunflowers
taller phlox
tomatoes
thymes
trefoil
tulips (a lot)
turnips
viperloss
wild irises (purple, yellow)
wild roses
yarrows (red, pink, white, yellow)
yellow loosestrife
 
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milkmansdaughter

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Wandering through your yard must be an absolute joy! I hope for our list to be as extensive in a few years.
 

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Wandering through your yard must be an absolute joy! I hope for our list to be as extensive in a few years.

please enjoy the many pictures at the website www.anthive.com i love growing things but i also like getting some pictures of them too and sharing them with everyone who wants to noze around. :) best of all i don't have to charge admission and you can visit any time for as long as you like. just turn out the lights when you're done. :)
 

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i just thought of this, but if you have sheep you sure don't want the yellow, orange, reddish blend because those seeds will stick in their fur if you let them in where the flowers are setting seeds. eek! that would be a mess. i'm sure there are other plant seeds that you don't want in sheep fur...
 
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