Planting attractive bee garden

18.03.2016. 22:48

Backyard beekeeping for the love of bees and honey. Attract honeybees into your yard by planting a bee friendly garden.

Spring is fast approaching and if you are a gardener, you are thinking about how quickly you can get your hands in the soil and get some plants in the ground. Do you think about how you can accommodate more bee friendly plants and flowers into your yard to make a sanctuary for honeybees and other beneficial pollinators? Be patient about which flowers will you choose because flowers’ aroma can calm the most aggressive of bees.

Keep it chemical free, let it continue to flower and you will be providing a vital food source for the local bee population.  As an added bonus you’ll get your vegetables well-pollinated and have an excellent harvest at the same time.

Follow these simple guidelines for planting a bee friendly garden:

  1. Choose plants that attract bees – Bees love native wildflowers, flowering herbs, berries and many flowering fruits and vegetables. Some honeybee favorites include – mints, basil, sage, thyme, borage, oregano, lavender, chives, buckwheat, berries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cucumbers, tomato, winter squash, pumpkins, melons, watermelons, flowering broccoli, crocus, snowdrops, tulips, sunflowers, asters, dandelions, peony and honeysuckle and much more.  If you have the space, planting any type of fruit tree is perfect and trees such as maple, willow, black locust and sumac are also good food sources for bees.
  2. Group the same plants together – Try to plant at least one square yard of the same plant together to make a perfect bee attractor. But if you are short on space planting just a few wildflowers or herbs in a planter or window box is all that’s needed to provide more foraging habitat for the honeybee.
  3. Pick plants with long blooming cycles – Or choose plants with successive blooms. This way the bees will keep coming back again and again. A seed kit like this makes attracting bees to your garden easy.
  4. Let your plants flower – Leave the flowers on your plants and deadhead them to allow the honeybees to get the pollen and nectar they need. If you are growing herbs or vegetables such as broccoli, harvest it but leave the plant intact. When you are done let it go to flower for the pollinators and leave it in the garden until the flowers are gone. Last December, I saw firsthand how important a food source like broccoli left to flower in a backyard garden was to my honeybees at a time when nothing else was available for them to eat.
  5. Provide a fresh water source – A sloping bird bath with stones for bees to stand on, a backyard waterfall, a pool, a dripping hose, almost any shallow water source will do. Cabbage and broccoli leaves full of fresh morning dew, and newly watered potted plants with peat soil are favorite destinations for my bees.
  6. DO NOT use pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals in your garden – Or anywhere in your yard including your lawn, other gardens and trees. After all, you are trying to attract bees right? Most of these chemicals are toxic to bees and have widespread effects which are detrimental to plants, beneficial insects and other native pollinators. This ban also applies to products your lawn care company uses. When in doubt leave it out. This article explains how toxic some backyard chemicals are to bees.
  7. Appreciate the beauty of weeds – Dandelions, clovers, loosestrife, milkweed, goldenrod and other flowering weeds are very important food sources for bees. In areas filled with green sprawling lawns, dandelions and clovers are vital plants for a bees survival. Let them grow and flower in your yard and you will soon have your own personal honeybee sanctuary. The next time you see a dandelion going to seed, grab it, blow those seeds around and feel good knowing you are doing your part to help save the bees.

It can’t be more simple than that! Let us know your tips & tricks about planting a bee friendly garden!