- Author: Christine Casey
Our mild California weather gives us the luxury of year-round gardening in most areas of the state. And warm enough for plants means warm enough for bees, whether it's honey bees from a local hive or native bees with queens that fly early, such as the black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus.
A great way to provide resources for bees in the winter is with winter-blooming annuals. Take a trip to most garden centers this time of year and you'll typically find calendula, Iceland poppy, pansy, primrose, and snapdragons, along with flowering vegetables like fava beans.
Poppies are great bee plants, and Iceland poppy is a winter bee favorite in the Haven. Plants in the sunflower family, Asteraceae, are also generally great for bees, and pot marigold (calendula) lives up to these expectations.
Surprisingly our English daisy, also in the sunflower family, fails to host many bees. Other common winter annuals that are not much used by bees are primrose and pansy.
Another great choice for winter bee forage is fava bean. Not only do the bees use it, their pollination will provide you with a nice crop of beans.