Bee-friendly plants series: Aster

Asters, the blue ones, are about the last flower to bloom, before falls shades off into winter. The honeybees are packing away the pollen from these flowers, maybe nectar, too, but pollen is the key thing for them. They will want to start raising young next February before there is any pollen available to them, so they need to have a stockpile going in to winter so they can get started on raising their replacements in late winter. Pollen is the protein; honey is the carbs: both are needed to raise larvae into replacement bees for the long-lived winter bees that “hold the fort” from now until April/May. My mother used to call these asters Michaelmas daisies (pronounced “mikkelmus”). September 29 is St. Michael’s day and it was also her birthday. She was not Catholic … I think she was a practicing atheist …but the day and the flowers were special to her. I just learned a rhyme from Wikipedia: “The Michaelmas daisies, among dead weeds, Bloom for St Michael’s valorous deeds …” and the rhyme confirms the observation that these flowers are amongst the last of the season. For blueberries and honey check out

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