The Bees’s Knees

Do bees do have knees? They carry pollen back to the hive in sacs on their legs, but the origin of the phrase is uncertain. But the meaning is more certain – excellent, or the best possible.

In mid August in my garden, the best possible flowers for bees are held on Teucrium x lucidrys. Daisies are popular, globe thistles irresistible, lavender magnetic, but for sheer numbers of bees on any one plant, the teucrium wins hands down.

Wikipaedia reports, “There are hundreds of  species including herbs, shrubs, or subshrubs. They are found all over the world but are most common in Mediterranean climates.” Teucrium x lucidrys is a hybrid of two species, T. chamaedrys and T. lucidum. In common with both its parents, it needs a well-drained soil in full sun, with room to sprawl.

Teucrium x lucidrys - 2014

Although no pruning is necessary, I find it useful to cut back all growth by about half in spring, just as new growth is about to start. You can also clip it a few times a year to make a short hedge, but this will prevent it from flowering. As I said, bees love this plant. When I took this photo, I counted 24 bees working it, and always seems to be covered in them.

Teucrium x lucidrys - 2016

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