Sunday, March 20, 2011
The BUZZ: Creating a Bee-Friendly World
Creating an environment that provides shelter and food for pollinators is one of the most rewarding of garden activities. You can do it anywhere – city rooftops, school gardens, a sidewalk strip or your own back yard. For very little effort, you can create beautiful and critical habitat for native bees and abundant forage for honey bees.
Not only will your fruits and vegetables benefit by increase pollination efficiency, but you will be creating a great opportunity for observing bees and other pollinators. Some of my most memorable times in nature have been spent lazily observing bees and butterflies visiting my favorite plants.
You can enhance your existing garden or start something new this year. I invite you to take the “add a yard to your yard” challenge in 2011. Here’s how:
* Select one square yard, (36” x 36” ) to transform into a pollinator garden. Make sure that the site gets ample sunlight and a source of water is nearby.
* Choose plants to fill your square yard that will bloom continuously throughout the season. Diversity is key. Think about three to five plant varieties in bloom at all times. Make sure to include ‘Lemon Queen’ Sunflowers to anchor your planting and observe and report your bee observations.
community gardencommunity garden
* Some other good choices might be California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) ‘Tropical Sunset’, Echinacea (E. purpurea), Bee Balm (Monarda ‘Bergamo Bouquet’), along with cosmos and alyssum. (Here’s photo of last year’s effort in a local community garden, including cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) and a big beautiful clump of a white form of borage. We let the carrots and radishes go to seed, too, for extra pollen and nectar. )
* Like our white borage, most pollinators are attracted to obvious clusters of blooms, so plan to group similar plants together for maximum effect.
Low-cost and beautiful seeds can be found at Renee’s Garden Seeds. Check out their site, and don’t forget to enter the Coupon Code FR225A, so that the Great Sunflower Project will receive a portion of the proceeds to continue our work.
To find out much more information on planting for pollinators, check out the new Xerces Society Guide to “Attracting Native Pollinators.” You can order your copy through our web site at a discounted price.
Once your pollinator garden is in full swing, share your success stories and pics with us!
Here’s to making a difference by creating a more bee-friendly world,