Bees are small but mighty creatures. Some of their buzzworthy accomplishments include pollinating 75% of our flowering plants, beautifying our planet, and of course, making honey. Their pollination efforts are said to help produce approximately one-third of what we eat.
For all they do for us, why not help them out a little? Creating a bee garden can help you do just that.
Not only will bees appreciate your gift of a flower-rich habitat, they’ll return your kindness in the form of a healthy, bountiful garden.
Bee garden tips
Get started creating a bee garden of your own by following these tips from The Honeybee Conservancy:
Plant native flowers. Choose native flowers that are specifically adapted to your region, as well as your region’s local bees. For more info on bee-friendly plants, try visiting the websites of local botanical garden and nurseries.
Select single flower tops. While you might enjoy the fuller look of double flower tops (such as double impatiens), they produce less nectar and make it more difficult for bees to access pollen. Single flower tops, like daisies and marigolds, are much more bee-friendly.
Skip the hybridized plants. Because highly hybridized plants have been bred not to seed, they produce little pollen for bees. Opt for non-hybridized plants to provide bees with more pollen.
Season-round blooms. By planting at least three different types of flowers, you’ll see blooms throughout as many seasons as possible. This will provide bees with a constant source of food.
The Honeybee Conservancy recommends the following bee-friendly flowers for each season:
- For spring blooms: crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac.
- In the summer: bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons, foxglove, and hostas.
- For the fall: zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel, and goldenrod.
Build homes for solitary bees. Leave some empty space in your garden for solitary bees that burrow. Choose a sunny spot with access to soil surface. (For wood and stem-nesting bees, this means piles of branches, bamboo sections, reeds, or nesting blocks made from untreated wood; Mason bees will need a source of water and mud.)
Use natural pesticides and fertilizers. Use of herbicides or pesticides can be toxic to bees, as well as any human company your garden may have. When it comes to keeping pests at bay, mother nature has already got it under control -- ladybugs, spiders, and praying mantises all naturally help to keep pest populations in check.
Create a “bee bath”. Like any other creature, bees need a place to get clean water. Fill a shallow container of water with pebbles or twigs for the bees to land on while drinking. To make sure the bees know it’s a reliable source of water, be sure to fill the container with fresh water daily.