I took these two photos yesterday, Sept. 23.
These are borage flowers, volunteers at the edge of our vegetable garden. One picture has a bumblebee, the other a honeybee. It was late afternoon and the sun went behind a maple while I was there. As soon as the garden was in shadow, the temperature dropped and the honeybees abandoned the borage … now below their operating temperature, but the bumblebee in its fur coat kept on gathering. What I found pretty amazing was that the borage, which started blooming in July, was still going in late September. It is a terrific honey plant, with very sweet nectar. It is an annual. Sometimes it volunteers, sometimes it doesn’t. It flowers and produces seed all season, so there is not, to my knowledge, any simple way of collecting seed. Seed is expensive. Check the catalogue prices. Scary. If anyone knows any good ways to collect seed, and one would need quite a bit to do the bees any good, please share your ideas and methods.