Trees for bees

The pollen and nectar sources available to bees depend upon the time of the year and the area of the country. The bees will enthusiastically exploit what’s available, but will struggle if there’s a dearth of either.

For much of this year I’ve been living on the remote west coast of Scotland, in an area with a very low population density and an even lower density of beekeepers … by my calculations less than 1 per 25 km2.

It’s very different from Fife (on the east coast of Scotland). It’s warmer and wetter here and there is almost no arable farming. One or two of the crofts on the coast might grow a bit of barley or wheat, but the few fields tend to be used for grazing and hay production. There’s probably no oil seed rape within 50 miles.

And there’s also no Varroa 🙂 … but I’ll discuss that another time.

Trees – in this case providing shelter from the westerlies – and bees

It goes without saying, since I’m spending so much time here, I now have bees here 🙂

Triffids and mad honey

The primary nectar source for honey is heather, which doesn’t yield until August. I have less than zero experience with heather honey – other than on toast – so have a lot to learn.

The land is on the edge of moorland with a mix of larch and scots pine, with a shrubby understorey of birch and some rowan. It’s awash with wildlife; pine marten, eagles, crossbills and the elusive Scottish wildcat 1.

Pine marten raiding the bird table

However, at least until a year or two ago, much of the land was covered in a triffid-like invasive mass of rhododendron. Swathes of the west of Scotland and Ireland are blighted by this shrub which was first introduced as an ornamental plant in the 18th Century.

Rhododendron as far as the eye can see – now cleared and planted with hazel and rowan

I’m biased, but I’d argue that rhododendron has no redeeming features. It seeds itself everywhere and smothers all other groundcover, leaving a near sterile environment. It’s terrible for wildlife. The flowers are briefly showy but not hugely attractive, either to me or to bees – whether wild or managed.

Oh yes, and the nectar produces hallucinogenic honey. I’ve even less experience of this than I do of heather honey … but in this case I have no desire to learn more.

So, I’ve been slowly clearing the rhododendron and replanting the cleared areas.

Trees for Life

A friend who used to keep bees in this are a few years ago commented that there was a shortage of early season pollen, meaning that colonies could sometimes struggle to build up. A colony that fails to build up well early in the season will struggle to reproduce i.e. swarm.

Of course, like most beekeepers, I don’t really want my bees to swarm.

However, I do want my colonies to be strong enough to want to swarm. That way, there will be loads of foragers to exploit the heather from late July. In addition, I’m particularly interested in queen rearing and building my stocks up, and for both these activities I need the colonies to have good access to pollen and nectar … and to be big and strong.

With no agriculture to speak of there are also no pesticides. Perhaps as a consequence of this there are a very large number of bumble bees about. These give me hope that there might actually be sufficient pollen, but more can only be beneficial.

And more will certainly be helpful if I end up with a reasonable number of colonies that could compete with the native bees for environmental resources 2.

I’m therefore busy planting trees in some of the areas cleared of rhododendron. Not quite on the same scale as the Trees for Life rewilding at Dundreggan, but every little bit helps 😉

Why trees?

Partly because they’ll take the longest to grow, so need to go in first, and partly because many of them are excellent sources of early season pollen and nectar.

It’s also the sort of epic-scale ‘gardening’ involving chainsaws and brushcutters, huge bonfires, cubic metres of firewood and lots of digging that I have an affinity for. I don’t have the patience for pricking-out and growing on bedding plants, or weeding the herbaceous border 😉

Native trees

I’m keen to re-plant with native trees and shrubs. I know they’ll do well in this environment and they can be readily sourced, either locally or at little expense.

As will become clear shortly, the ‘expense’ part is a not an insignificant consideration with the grazing pressure from deer in this area.

I’ve initially focused on just six species; alder, hazel, wild cherry (gean), poplar, willow and  blackthorn.

Of these I’ll skip over the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). Although the white spring flowers produce nectar, I chose it to make a spiky hedge and for the distant opportunity of making sloe gin. However, I’m going to have to try again as the bareroot whips I planted last winter have done almost nothing.


Alder (Alnus glutinosa) produces large amounts of early season pollen. It also thrives in damp ground and we have plenty of that. I’ve planted quite a bit of alder and it’s all doing pretty well. There is already a lot along the banks of nearby streams and in boggy areas at the side of the loch, so I know it will do well in this area. In fact, the few dozen I’ve planted are insignificant in comparison to what’s growing locally, but I wanted to create an area of mixed alder and willow carr 3. I planted 30 cm bareroot whips last winter and those that have survived the deer have doubled or trebled in height.


Alder, once established, seems reasonably resistant to browsing by deer, presumably because they find it relatively unpalatable. The long-term plan is to coppice the alder – it makes good firewood when properly dried. It has also historically been used to make clogs, but I’ll be cutting it back before it’s grown enough for anything but the tiniest feet.


Like alder, hazel (Corylus avellana) is a good source of early season pollen. Most readers will be familiar with the catkins which appear as early as mid-February. The area shown in a picture (above), now cleared of rhododendron, has been planted with hazel. It’s a south-facing slope with thin soil but most seem to be doing OK so far.


There are a couple of mature hazel nearby and I managed to find a few seedlings which I transplanted, however the majority went in as bareroot whips.

Hazel is popular with deer and with the red squirrels. The fact I needed to buy barerooted trees probably reflects the fact that the squirrels get most of the nuts, and those that do germinate are then eaten by the deer. It’s a tough life.


Gean is the Scottish name for the wild cherry (Prunus avium) 4. It flowers in April and is a great source of nectar and pollen for the bees. I’ve only planted a few of these, in scattered groups of three, or along the side of the track. Despite gean not really flourishing in acid, peaty soil they seem to have established well and are already approaching shoulder height. Gean, like rowan 5, is also great for the birds and the thrushes will probably get the majority of the fruit that sets.

Poplar or aspen

Poplar or aspen (Populus tremula) is a favourite of mine. The leaves have pale undersides and are held on long, flattened petioles. As a consequence they flutter in the faintest of breezes and are a wonderful sight, particularly planted against a backdrop of dark brooding conifers.

Poplar or aspen (Populus tremula)

In fact, poplar is so attractive I’d have planted it even if it was of no interest to the bees.

Poplar is wind pollinated and the bees probably only get a little pollen from it. Some species also produce early season sap that is a major component of propolis apparently. Finally, poplar are susceptible to a rust or fungus called Melampsora, and the bees collect the spores if they need protein and there’s no pollen to be found.

Inaccessible aspen

The standard way to propagate poplar is by root cuttings. There is relatively little poplar around here, and none I could have easily grubbed up the roots from. However, after a bit of searching I discovered Eadha Enterprises in Lochwinnoch, near Glasgow. Eadha is derived from the old gaelic word for aspen. They are a social enterprise specialising in aspen production from stocks of known provenance. The cell-grown saplings I received, which are going in this winter, are derived from trees on the Isle of Arran.


In contrast to the relative difficulty of propagating aspen, you have to try hard not to propagate willow. A foot long, pencil-thick cutting – taken more or less any time of the year – will root very quickly. Even if left in a bucket of water for a fortnight.

Willow cuttings ready for planting

I’ve planted a lot of willow from local trees (probably goat willow, Salix caprea, but they hybridise so freely you can never be certain) and planted it in variously boggy bits of ground, alongside some of the alder. Willow is generally dioecious (male or female) and you need to plant male trees for the pollen. I planted some female as well as they both produce nectar.

Willow male catkins

In addition to just planting them directly, I grew a few on in tubs in potting compost. These developed good root systems and grew better.

Pot grown cutting ready for planting

However, willow is a favourite of deer and the cuttings I’ve planted have periodically been hammered by both red and roe deer.

Sabre planting and oversize cuttings

The obvious way to prevent deer damage is to build a 6 foot high fence but, because of the rocky nature of the ground, this is impractical (which is an easier way of saying eye-wateringly expensive).

If you visit the Scottish highlands you’ll be familiar with the site of small burns cascading down gulleys in the hillside. Often the the sides of the gulleys have dense growth of alder, birch or willow.

This is not just because of the nearby water supply. After all, much of the land receives 2000 mm of rain or more a year.

The other reason the trees are there (and not on the open moor) is that the gulley is steep sided and the trees therefore experience less grazing pressure. You can recapitulate this by so-called sabre planting 6. In this you plant trees of 1m+ height perpendicular on slopes of at least 40°. The slope makes the growing tips less accessible and they gradually grow out and away, straightening up as they do.

I’ve only discovered this strategy recently 7 and will be trying it in a couple of locations.

An alternative strategy, particularly suitable for willow, is to plant ‘cuttings’ that are already too big for the deer to reach the growing tips.

A ‘big’ willow cutting – there’s a game trail 2m from this that’s used every night.

To avoid grazing by red deer this means at least 1.5-1.8 m in height. The technique is almost the same as planting the foot long, pencil-thick cuttings … you just push them into the ground. It’s worth noting that you need to push them a good distance into the ground and stake them. About 50% of the big cuttings I’ve planted have apparently rooted. I’m pretty certain that those that didn’t failed because they were not staked firmly enough. This makes sense … as the leaves sprout they become wind-resistant and gales will quickly damage the developing root system through simple leverage.

Gimme Shelter

I’ve planted trees for bees before. We planted lots of goat willow and mixed hedging around our research apiary in Fife in early 2018. The combination of a major fire in my research institute the following year, and Covid this year, meant that the trees have been just left to get on with it.

Mixed hedging and willow and wildflowers (aka weeds, but the bees don’t know that)

And they have. This was a bare earth bank in February 2018. We still need a windbreak, but even that can probably be dispensed with in a year or so. Not all the trees have thrived, but I’m more than satisfied considering the neglect they received.

Oh deer

Scotland is overrun with deer. A review over 50 years ago stated that the optimum number of red deer the land could maintain was ~60,000. They defined ‘optimum’ in terms of avoiding agricultural damage, while allowing natural regeneration with no necessity for fencing. This would also ensure that there’s enough food for the deer during the winter months.

The current estimate is that there are over 450,000 red deer in Scotland. As a consequence there are many areas with no natural tree regeneration without installing expensive and intrusive fencing. In addition, the deer are often in lousy condition and/or starve to death in hard winters.

If you look carefully you can see a couple more coming down the track. There’s also a beehive in the video above, though it’s tricky to spot.

In addition to red deer we also have a smaller number of roe deer … equally attractive and almost equally destructive.

Don’t get me wrong, I love deer … particularly braised slowly with a good quality, full-bodied red and winter vegetables.

Not beekeeping?

OK, in terms of specifics, not beekeeping. However, I’d argue that beekeepers have a responsibility to maintain and protect their environment. This includes ensuring that their charges do not impact negatively on the native wildlife.

This area is towards the extreme north-west corner of the country and the introduction of a quarter of a million bees (~5 hives) will inevitably impact the pollen and nectar available for the established native pollinating insects.

I could choose to avoid the latter by ‘not beekeeping’, but I’ve instead chosen to try and improve the resources available in the environment. Time will tell if there is a shortage of pollen and if my bees thrive.

If they don’t, at least there will be a bit less bloody rhododendron 😉


If you’re interested in native trees I thoroughly recommend the Handbook of Scotland’s Trees by Reforesting Scotland. It has lots of good advice about collecting seed and planting, but also has details of uses for trees and folklore. Whilst it focuses on Scotland’s trees (the clue is in the title), most grow elsewhere as well, and it’s packed with information. If you are interested more generally in the history, uses and planting of woodlands it’s probably worth reading all 16,452 pages (a slight exaggeration, but it is a magnum opus) of Oliver Rackham’s Woodlands which is a masterpiece.



  1. I see the first three on a near-daily basis, but have never seen a wildcat … I did say it was elusive.
  2. For a recent review in this area try Mallinger et al., (2017) Do managed bees have negative effects on wild bees?: A systematic review of the literature. PLoS ONE 12: e0189268 … I’m also going to write about the related subject of pathogen ‘spillover’ from managed colonies to wild bees this winter.
  3. A word borrowed from early Scandinavian – Danish kær or kjær, Swedish kærr – meaning fen or bog, now more usually applied to wet, boggy ground.
  4. Confusingly this isn’t the bird or black cherry, which is Prunus padus. I’d tried and failed to source this one last winter but will try again.
  5. I forgot to add rowan to the list of trees I’m planting. Rowan self seeds all over the place, but the deer love it. I’ve rescued some seedlings, grown them on in pots and planted them out with protection and they’re thriving.
  6. Watson, S. 1998. Sabres in the hills. Tree News, Spring, 14-15.
  7. In the excellent Handbook of Scottish Trees, see notes.

35 thoughts on “Trees for bees

  1. Gillian Wakeling

    My bees have not been capping the honey frames why is this? I live on the Somerset /Devon border.

    1. David Post author

      Hello Gillian

      Your summer honey should probably be capped by now, but it’s very dependent upon the local forage. By now they’ll be collecting Himalayan balsam or some other late season nectars. The reason it’s not capped is almost certainly because it’s still unripe i.e. too much water. The bees know what they’re doing!


    1. David Post author

      Thanks Peter

      Very useful. There’s very little heather in Fife and when I lived in the Midlands I could never be bothered to take my bees to the heather. Now I’ve even got some in the garden and the hills are full of it. I fear it will mean more expenditure on equipment that will stand idle for months of the season 😉


  2. KT

    Hi David,
    I always enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing your experiments with correx especially! Good to hear you’re settling into Lochaber – I’m one of your beekeeping neighbours…Like bees, local adaptation in native trees is a prerequisite for their survival and growth in this testing environment; blackthorn and aspen from the relevant native Seed Zone is particularly difficult to source as you may have discovered! Try Taynuilt Trees down the road (in Taynuilt), all locally sourced native seed and a good quality seedling. I use them a lot, as am also local forester. I enjoy shoe-horning significant numbers of pollen bearing trees into all afforestation schemes, and then putting my bees in there…Good luck with the rhodo campaign 😉.

    1. David Post author

      Many thanks ‘KT’

      Very useful. I looked Taynuilt Trees up, they have a useful website. Aspen I think I’ve sorted but the blackthorn has been woeful. Rowan, oak and birch, although not really sources of pollen/nectar I can pick up from the ground as they self-seed freely (as long as I get there before the deer).

      Despite my aversion to pricking out etc I’ve also got trays of gorse and broom germinating.

      Delighted you enjoy the Correx … fabulous stuff 😉


    1. David Post author

      Hello Helen

      The simple answer is you don’t. Your options are either to buy from a nursery that does or buy a lot and hope you get a mix. However, willow is so easy that there’s little point in buying it. Collect your own from a known source, grow it on if needed and plant it out. Since willow hybridises so easily you can get varieties that flower at different times. Dave Cushman has a post buried on his site on Willow as a diverse habitat benefiting pollinating insects in early spring by Sylvia Briercliffe which makes interesting reading.


  3. Steve

    I really enjoyed the nature shots. My family originally hails from Scotland and some day I hope to visit.

    Do they use plant tubes over there? We are also polluted with deer but hunting season mostly keeps them in check. The 1st day of deer season is almost like a national holiday with all the businesses that close. Anyway, the state is working hard to restore wetlands either destroyed by clear cutting & farming or strip-mining coal. Trees are grown in plant tubes which act as a mini greenhouse and keep the deer away.

    Please keep posting the nature shots.

    1. David Post author

      Hi Steve

      Scotland is a wonderful country. It’s well worth a visit after all this Covid has cleared up.

      Yes, we use plant tubes here to protect them from the deer. I’m just about to order some more. The irritating thing is that they cost about 5 times the price of the sapling you’re trying to protect 🙁

      The deer are hunted here, but it does not keep the numbers down sufficiently. The hunting (or ‘stalking’ as it’s called here) is private and managed. It’s not like the US where the land is public and you simply need to get your licence for a buck or a doe. The impression is that deer levels here are managed to be artificially high to ensure the hunters get a reasonably easy shot. This often includes feeding them hay and mineral supplements to get them through the winter. The place is riddled with them.

      Deer are not naturally a moorland species. They are a woodland animal. Here they eat all the woodland and are forced out onto the moors. As a consequence they are smaller than deer that live in woodland (there’s an irony there as hunters prize the largest stags) and in much poorer condition.

      What we need are wolves and lynx …


  4. Patrick Gibb

    You didn’t mention Lime trees, which surprised me. There are several mature Limes around where I live in Strachur, Argyll, also on the West Coast. They are very popular with bees when they flower and as I’m sure you know can yield a lot of mint-flavoured honey. Was there a reason for not including them?

    1. David Post author

      Hi Patrick

      We have three huge lime trees down the road which I hope the bees will take advantage of. They’re well within range. I don’t think lime flowers in meaningful amounts until it’s 25-30 years old, which is a long time to wait (and I doubt I’ll be keeping bees then … or doing much else!). Although the lime down the road flowered well this year I’m not sure our summer will be warm enough for them to consistently deliver.

      However, these are poor excuses … I should definitely consider some when I clear the next area of rhododendron this winter.


  5. Nick

    I’ve planted many hazels (40+ and the squirrels have planted more) alongside hawthorn, blackthorn, goat willow, and various other prunus and malus. My bees show no interest at all in the hazel catkins from my observations. In retrospect I should have played much more salix caprea than I have, and I’ve started addressing that. I’m in SE England, so I don’t have the same extreme dearth challenges you have.

    Have you tried protecting your trees your young trees with tree tubes?

    1. David Post author

      Hi Nick … yes, tree tubes, but not enough of them. In addition, to properly protect from red deer they need to be 1.5m or more in height, which starts to look a bit intrusive.


  6. Nick

    Also, is sambucus an option up there? It’s hardy, grows relatively quickly and is a great summer nectar source. It’s supposedly deer resistant due to its toxicity.

    I’d second the suggestion above to plant tilia. You may never benefit, but future bees certainly will. I’m blessed with many in my area and the honey is delicious.

    1. David Post author

      Yes, elder is an option, just not one I’ve got round to yet. I don’t think I was aware it’s unpalatable to deer.

      Lime honey is always a winner – my Fife bees are in range of some mature trees and when it delivers the honey can’t be bottled fast enough to meet demand. I’ll have to find a source for it … Alba Trees, Christie-Elite and Taynuilt don’t list it.


  7. Vince poulin

    David, first opportunity to see this post. It’s of great interest. Just a point of interest. Aspen is one of my most favorite of trees. I planted 350 near the Visitors Centre of one of our parks along with some black cottonwood. The site was just on the edge of their western range and near extreme altitude. All were protected from deer using conical tripod style excluders. The following spring I had 20% or so mortality. Looking carefully the loss was due voles. They girdled the stems near ground level. It was a problem I did not anticipate. Keep this in mind. At other sites where we planted in grassy areas I found similar kills on western red cedar plantings. To protect similar trees form damage we placed spiral plastic bands around the stems at the base. I used empty plastic soda bottles in Nepal to do the same in an apple orchard. A simple solution to a serious problem.

    1. David Post author

      Hi Vince

      I’m familiar with the spiral tree protectors as we used them in Fife to shield the willow around the apiary. They worked well. I usually associate rodent damage to trees with very cold weather – perhaps wrongly – which is not something I need to worry about on the west coast. We have no rabbits here. However, forewarned is forearmed … I’ll keep an eye on the trees and add some protection to the base of the tree if needed.


      1. vince poulin

        OH MY! Returning home from our road trip to the Rockies I stopped at the aspen site. Wow, would you believe someone set up a weather station at the planting site. There on the ground and leveled were 4-5 m tall aspen I planted 12-years ago. 6 and 8 cm dbh. They took out a radius of 50-m of trees. Not all beautifully tall trees but enough to sicken you. They were so carefully planted and done in a manner as to provide a grove of yellow in front of the Centre in the fall. Trees need continuity, these lost theirs.

        1. David Post author

          Hello Vince

          What a terrible shame. It’s bad enough seeing trees felled just to clear a bit of space or to tidy things up … but trees you put time, effort and care into is particularly distressing. My understanding is that aspen generally propagate from suckers, rather than setting seed (I might be wrong), so they won’t even have had a chance to spread.


  8. greengage

    The selection of trees by residential associations, Tidy town committees, developers and county councils usually does not consider their usefulness to pollinating insects but but are planted for ascetics and what is available in local nurseries. All pollinating insects including Bumblebees, Solitary Bees and Honey Bees require forage from early spring through to late autumn, and native trees, such as willow, hazel, provide early sources of pollen when few plants are in flower. Other native trees such as Hawthorn, Holly, Rowan, Bird cherry, wild cherry, Blackthorn and Crab apple provide nectar and pollen when in flower.
    While it would be advisable to plant native trees to attract pollinating insects as many native pollinating insects have evolved to rely on these when in flower. There are some non-native trees which can also provide a valuable source of pollen and nectar. Therefore, it is important that a selection of non-natives as well as natives, are included when planting for of pollinators.
    When a selection of native and non-native trees are planted in gardens, housing estates or parks many insects can benefit, but it is important to select a tree that will be suitable for the area. Planting of trees in urban areas can link them to rural areas with a wider selection of forage available for pollinating insects.

    1. David Post author

      Hi greengage

      There’s a lot of lime planted in some towns and urban areas – it’s quite pollution-tolerant if I remember correctly. It can give a bonanza crop some years.

      I’d prefer to avoid non-natives if I can. I appreciate the “fill-in” they provide when other sources stop flowering. However, with the exception of the ever-present rhododendron, some Gunnnera and a small patch of skunk cabbage (a garden escapee), it’s a very natural environment and I’d like to try and keep it that way. At least the bits I can influence …

      I’m underplanting the hazel with native Scottish wildflower mixes and so hope these provide some additional pollen and nectar.

      Crab apples are on my list for this winter …


  9. Tim Hughes

    Enjoyed your blog, lovely part of the world to live in.

    I can highly recommend the book “Plants for Bees” by Kirk & Howes, which is a rich resource on the value of plants in the UK for bees. It also has a couple of general chapters in the beginning written by experts on the general relationship between plants and bees.

    1. David Post author

      Thanks Tim … I’ll look out for it, though I suspect it might no longer be in print. What I really need is the follow-up volume on ‘Plants for Bees that are unpalatable to deer’ 😉


  10. Tim Rose

    Great read and something I have been thinking about quite a bit recently. How much can I effect honey production by altering / improving the local environment? – I’m fortunate in that my croft is at the top of a tiny glen so it is a fairly controlled environment. This was my first season with bees so I am a total beginner and will have no way of measuring if my efforts will make a quantifiable difference but I have been making “alterations” to my croft for a while. 5000 native trees went in 6 years ago, 800 more will go in this winter (this time chosen with bees in mind).
    A few suggestions based on my experience so far (bearing in mind I’m closer to Inverness so colder and drier).
    Gean – actually does really well in our acid soils.
    Bird Cherry – also does well and my 5yo trees flowered quite well this year.
    Crab Apple – should do well.
    Culinary Apple – try a west coast variety on huge rootstock, put them in the woods and leave them to get on with it!
    Damsons – don’t see many in Scotland but they are very hardy and grow well – certainly my strongest fruit tree.
    Blackthorn – tends to do less well the further north you go. I only know one place near Inverness where it reliably fruits (and that’s on a south facing slope at sea level)
    Rowan – no idea how good it is for nectar and pollen but it grows well everywhere.
    Currants & gooseberries are fairly native and should thrive (if you can keep the deer off them)

    Get a gun. Taking 1 or 2 deer a year might not make a difference but if we all take 1 or 2 it will add up.

    1. David Post author

      Hello Tim

      Thanks for that … what do you recommend for culinary apples? Ideally a cooker? I particularly like the recommendation to “put them in the woods and leave them to get on with it.”. That is very much my sort of gardening.

      Rowan we have a’plenty of … I go round the hill digging them up, growing them on a bit and then planting them out where they’ll be protected from the deer.

      The gean that went in as tiny whips are now growing out of the top of their protective tubes. They’ll need a bit more protection next year but after that the growth should be out of reach of even the largest red deer.

      I’m not expecting to influence honey production, at least not directly. I’d like to help the bees get through the lean parts of the season, so that they’re strong enough for queen rearing and for the heather. Most of the pollen and nectar will be early in the season, so helping them build up.

      Your tiny glen can’t be that tiny if it’s got space for ~6000 trees 😉


      PS I sometimes think I’d need a Gatling gun to influence the deer numbers here 🙁

      1. Tim Rose

        I got all my fruit trees from Andrew Lear ( who is far better qualified to advise on types than me (and the best types will be quite different in the warm, wet west than from where I am).

  11. Patrick Gibb

    I know it’s been a while, but we are into peak planting season now.

    Have you considered Eucryphia? A small tree or tall shrub that provides lots of late season flowers which bees seem to like. And although it’s from Chile it grows well on the damp acid soils in the west of Scotland. I believe they have several at Inverewe garden. I’m about to plant a couple myself.

    1. David Post author

      Hi Patrick

      I hadn’t considered it … but perhaps should. I’m still planting and still clearing acres of rhododendron. I did a quick web search and there’s an article on the plants at Inverewe here. They recommend E. glutinosa, and suggest it should be planted in Spring … actually, I’m misquoting them. That’s the hardiest, but it’s clear that others thrive in the parts of the west coast bathed by the Gulf Stream.

      With one or two exceptions I’ve tried to stick to native trees and shrubs, but I like Chile, so perhaps should include this in the exceptions.

      Many thanks

    2. Peter McFadden

      Eucryphia is a fabulous tree for the bees. I have several varieties in my garden in North Wales. They flower in August and the bees love them. I live near Bodnant Grden which has a national collection of over 20 Eucryphias. Chilean Ulmo honey and Tasmanian leatherwood honey come from eucryphia varieties.

      1. David Post author

        Many thanks Peter … two strong recommendations means I’d be a mug not to try some. What’s more … the RHS suggest that they show a ‘good degree of resistance’ to deer. This is essential as we’re inundated with the %$&@£)^% things. Roe and red. We can’t fence the plot and they come down off the hill and eat more or less everything. I’m currently growing loads of gorse seedlings for early season pollen and to build deer-resistant barriers.

        You’re in a lovely part of the world.
        Thanks again

  12. Peter McFadden

    Thanks David. i recommend Burncoose Nurseries for eucryphias. Yes, North Wales is lovely, especially the Conwy Valley, and we don’t have any deer here!

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