Eco Friendly Bee Garden
Despite this week’s cold temperatures, it’s time to start thinking about planting an Eco Friendly Bee Garden. As you may know, homeowners can utilize Eco friendly choices when it comes to protecting the worlds bees. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is greatly concerned about our bee colonies. In fact, the EPA feels that insecticides and pesticides may be the main factor to colony collapse.
As a homeowner or gardener, you can help protect the bees by being Eco conscious. First off, read your labels. If a product says it’s toxic to bees, don’t apply it! Personally, I have a 100% organic garden and use Eco friendly methods for pest and weed control. You can too.
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Steps You Can Take to Support Pollinating Insects
- Look for seeds and plants that are 100% organic
- Grow garden plants with flowers that attract pollinating insects
- Grow plants that attract pollinating insects, in flower from early spring to late fall
- Never use pesticides on plants when they are in flower. Better yet, don’t use them at all
- Avoid plants with double or multi-petal flowers. These flowers can lack pollen and nectar or can be difficult for insects to gain access
- Encourage bees with your own bee hive or allow a beekeeper to place hives in your garden
- Nest hollow plant stems or holes drilled in blocks of wood to provide nest sites for some species of solitary bees. Nests are available at garden centers or online
Support a Bee Garden
As an avid gardener, I am fortunate that I have a green thumb. I just love gardening. My garden is also blessed with many bees. This I can attribute to many factors.
Here are a few other things that can help attract bees and other pollinators:
Single Flowers are Best: Flowers with double or multi- petals don’t attract bees like single petal blossoms. Most double blossoms have less pollen and nectar than single blossoms. Generally, the extra set of petals has replaced pollen laden anthers. Double blossoms also make it harder for bees to reach the inner flower.
Yellow, Purple and Blue Flowers: Bees are mostly attracted to yellow, purple and blue flowers.
Long-tonged bees prefer plants in the mint family such as lavender, lemon balm, mint, oregano and salvia.
Increase Variety: All bees are not made equal. Some bees are only active in the spring, while other bees are active all season long. To attract different types of bees, plant a garden that has a variety of plants that bloom from early spring to late fall.
Plant Both Native Species and Wildflowers: Since wild bees and wildflowers evolved together, plant a combination of native plants and wildflowers. That way, your garden will provide bees with an excellent source of nectar and pollen.
Create a Natural Habitat: The loss of nesting habitats poses a critical problem for many species of bees. A pristine garden that is nice and trim does not support any type of nesting habitat. Bees need raw materials to build their nests. A good nesting habitat may include a small brush pile, muddy area for mason bees or a natural nest from a garden center.
It’s Showtime | Planting a Bee Garden
The more suitable flowering plants you have in your garden, the better. You should definitely aim for at least two bee friendly plants for each flowering period. Ideally, plant two bee friendly plants for spring, early summer and fall or late summer. Here is a list of bee friendly plants for your bee garden:
Spring flowers: Bluebell , bugle (ajuga), crocus, daffodil, Forget Me Not (Myosotis), grape hyacinth, heather, hellebores, primrose, poppy, pulmonaria, hawthorn, hebe, hellebore (Helleborus foetidus, H. corsicus), thrift (Armeria maritima), pansies, rockcress, snowdrop, viburnum, Borage , chives, rosemary, flowering cherry, current and crab apple.
Early summer flowers: Aquilegia, Astilbe , campanula, chamomile, everlasting sweet pea (Lathyrus latifolius), foxglove, geranium, potentilla, snapdragon, stachys, teasel, verbascum, comfrey, fennel, Oregano , thyme and yarrow.
Late summer flowers: Aster, Bee Balm , buddleja, cardoon, cornflower (Centaurea), dahlia (single-flowered), Delphinium , eryngium, fuchsia, globe thistle (Echinops), heather, ivy, lavender, penstemon, scabious, sedum, sunflower, Verbena bonariensis and Angelica.
Bee Garden & Water
Like people, bees need water too. There are several way you can provide a fresh water source for your bees. For instance:
- A pool
- A bee waterer
- A dripping hose
- A backyard waterfall
- Any shallow water source
- Broccoli or cabbage add leaves full of morning dew
- A sloping bird bath with stones for bees to stand on
Finding Supplies for an Eco Friendly Bee Garden
Finding organic seed can sometimes be challenging. Here are a few suggestions to help you create the perfect bee garden.
Seeds and Things:
Offers a wildflower seed mixture for pollination to attract honey bees.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds:
Offers over 1800 varieties of heirloom seeds, all non-GMO. Additionally, all their seed is non-treated, non-hybrid and non-patented.
High Mowing Organic Seeds:
Their seeds are 100% certified organic and verified non-GMO. Truthfully, they have never sold genetically modified (GM) seeds. What is more, they continue to develop standards that will shape the future of testing, segregation and traceability practices for seeds.
Lake Valley Seed:
A national, full line garden seed company that supports local, independent retail stores in empowering gardeners within their communities. Their seed is untreated and non-GMO. They have a large variety of herbs, vegetables and flower seeds.
Has over 500 varieties of vegetable seeds, herb seeds and flower seeds. They have a large selection of heirloom seeds, organic seeds and more.
Other Fabulous Plants for Bees
Heirloom Organics: Your best source for heirloom flower seeds, heirloom vegetable seeds and heirloom herb seeds.
They also have organic seed, non-hybrid seed and an Online Organic Growing Guide.
Heirloom Organics NON-GMO Tea Seed Pack – 21 Varieties Includes 21 herbal tea varieties: Chamomile and Lavender plus many more….
Yes, Amazon is a great place to find organic seed for your bee garden. Here is just a small brief: