Posts Tagged: Ellen Zagory
If you're looking for a good bee plant that offers a little bit of an obstacle, try the violet trumpet vine (Clytostoma calystegioides). It's one of the UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars.
What's an Arboretum All-Star? The UC Davis Arboretum horticultural staff, led by Ellen Zagory, singled out "100 tough, reliable plants that have been tested in the Arboretum." The All-Stars are "easy to grow, don’t need a lot of water, have few problems with pests or diseases, and have outstanding qualities in the garden. Many of them are California native plants and support native birds and insects. Most All-Star plants can be successfully planted and grown throughout California."
In addition to hummingbirds, you'll find honey bees all over the purple-veined blossoms. Bees crawl inside a blossom (obstacle course!), forage a bit, and then pop back out, ready for another blossom.
Unlike most UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars, the violet trumpet vine is not a California native. It's from Argentina and the southern part of Brazil.
However, like many vines and trumpet players, it likes to put on a show. Its "show" is climbing walls and trellises and covering the sides of buildings for breathtaking displays. When you visit the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road at UC Davis, you'll see it trellised.
This is a plant that knows how to survive the winter and "bee" ready to bloom in the late spring and early summer. Call it robust. Call it hardy.
The bees call it food.
Honey bee slides into a a violet trumpet vine blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee leaves a violet trumpet vine blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
it's a traffic stopper.
The plant, reminiscent of a Christmas tree, attracts not only vehicular and foot traffic, but honey bees, bumble bees and hummingbirds. It's basically a tower of bees when it blooms.
The one in our yard is about eight feet tall. Honey bees, eager for the nectar and pollen, keep creating traffic jams. If you sit and watch them, you'll see them constantly bumping into one another as they forage for food.
No wonder it's a favorite of beekeepers.
The species, a biennial, is native to the Canary Islands. It's endemic to the island of Tenerife.
Last year several towers of jewels bloomed near Storer Hall on the University of California, Davis campus, and a couple of others graced the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a bee friendly garden on Bee Biology Road, about a mile west of the central campus.
The UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery sells these at their plant sales, but they go fast, says Ellen Zagory, the arboretum's director of horticulture. "We don't have any left," she said.
Honey bee foraging in a tower of jewels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee gets down to business. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Upside down honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's good to see so much interest in bees.
When folks think of bees, they usually think "honey bees." However, our European or western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is one of a total of seven species of honey bees found throughout the world.
Worldwide, there are some 20,000 described species of bees.
University of California scientists Robbin Thorp, Gordon Frankie and Ellen Zagory will be discussing a few of them in their "Buzz About Bees" program on Saturday, June 5 at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, Calif.
Thorp is a native pollinator specialist and emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis who continues to do research. Frankie is a professor and research entomologist at the UC Berkeley Division of Insect Biology. Zagory is director of horticulture, UC Davis Arboretum.
The registration deadline for this session, a science discussion about the "plight of Sonoma County's pollnators," closed May 28 but Thorp and Frankie continue to call attention to the plight of the pollinators. They talk about bumble bees, cuckoo bees, blue orchard bees, sweat bees and the like. Some bees are defined by what they do: leafcutters, masons and miners.
And Zagory is an expert on plants, especially ornamental plants. One has only to walk through the UC Davis Arboretum--or ask her to identify a plant--to confirm that!
We hope the "buzz about bees" continues to draw widespread interest.
Honey Bee on Lavender
Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee