Four forms of red valerian
Animals and plants back at the lake

An unusual farm crop

Phaceliafield500 On a farm a few miles from our Northamptonshire cottage is a field sown with a rather unusual crop. Only once before have I seen a whole field of Phacelia tanacetifolia (lacy phacelia) although I’ve sometimes grown it as an annual in the garden. It’s a delightful plant and flowers for many weeks.

On a farm scale it's often used as a bee crop, although the resulting honey can be very runny and so needs blending with something else... like oil seed rape honey which is very hard. It’s also sometimes used as green manure.Phacelia500

But what a treat to see it with the village church in the background, the only colour for miles when other fields are sown with winter barley and oil seed rape which is now finished flowering.


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Kris at Blithewold

Are you seeing much bee activity there? I just read that CCD has reached the UK...

Graham Rice

There were plenty of bees in the phacelia, but CCD has arrived in Britain and one London beekeeper reports that 30 of his 40 hives are empty. One report blames bee deaths on radiation from mobile phone towers and cordless phones - mobile phone towers are blamed for all sorts of things in Britain. The research that relates to bees, however, resulted from placing cordless phone docking units inside beehives - an approach which seems to guarantee results with no wider value of any kind!

Kris at Blithewold

If it's really telephones causing CCD, I know I'm not the only one who would go back to using an oldschool real phone with a bell and a cord. Or give up telecommunication altogether... I wonder what else they introduced in the hives as control...

Andrew Turner

I first was aware of Phacelia on holiday in Italy - one plant absolutely covered with bees. I fancied growing them myself but last year, before I could plant any in my Northamptonshire garden, a plant "appeared" in one of my front garden beds. Perhaps this was from a seed transported by birds. This year we have several plant. I will have to make sure that next year the bed is not smothered by the crop.

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