Daily Archives: March 19, 2011

Brian Minter of Minter Country Gardens invited me to be part of the 1 hour radio broadcast this morning. It was a beautiful sunny drive to Minter Country Gardens in Chilliwack, BC.  I arrived at 8. 30 in time for a coffee at their restaurant.  At 9am sharp the show started and we were kept busy answering a variety of great questions.  Brian covered questions on pruning, scented flowers, lawn care, tree care, blueberry varieties and much more.  It was a very lively and interesting question and answer period.   A few of the many Questions and Answers were:
Q:  Can you buy mason bees?
A:  Yes, at Garden stores, wild bird stores and grocery stores with a garden centers.  Mason bees come in small vials containing 10 hibernating mason bees.  They are ready to set out with a mason bee home.
Q:  What are summer mason bees?
A:  These native bees are similar to the early spring mason bee, but come out anywhere from May to October.  There are hundreds of species of summer mason bees out there.  Each species is out for about a month, pollinating whatever bloom is out at that time.  All you do is set out a Summer mason Bee Home with smaller nesting tunnels then the ones used for spring mason bees (less than 1/4″).  You will be surprised that after a year you will have 1-3 species of summer mason bees nesting in the house.
Q: I have lots of bees in the garden, should I provide housing for these bees?
A:  Housing helps to protect bees from birds and other insects that predate on bees.  Housing gives the bees an opportunity to survive and produce more offspring for next year.  I think the most enjoyable thing though about setting up housing for mason bees is that you can watch them fly about the nest and know where to find them.

Another session is in the works for early summer and cover more about the Summer Mason Bees.

The best way to find the kind of flowers bees like is to go shopping on a sunny day.  Wild bumble bees, honey bees and mason bees will be at the flowers that produce nectar.

There is an old variety of red heather that is very attractive to bees because it produces nectar.  I think it is called Kramer red.  If someone can confirm the attractiveness of this variety of Heather- that would be great.

Of course  the shrub Pieris japonica is a great source of nectar too.

Patricia at Garden Works will be doing a seminar on “The Secret life of Mason Bees”.  She has been looking after mason bees for 14 years and has had all kinds of adventures with mason bees.  She at one time nurtured bees in a aquarium because they had emerged way before spring blossoms opened up.  She fed them by presenting blooming heather to them every 2 days and successfully released them when spring really arrived.
Sunday 20th March at 11am
Garden Works
1916 Oak Bay
Victoria, BC V8R 1C7
give them a call and let them know you are coming.  250 595 4200