With the arrival of spring comes the joyous job of garden planning. Most of us choose what we will grow depending on the types of fruits and vegetables we enjoy eating or the way a certain flower looks and smells. There is, however, another consideration to take into account when deciding which plants to place in the ground.
As we have reported in the past, the disappearance of bees (otherwise known as Colony Collapse Disorder, CCD) could have devastating consequences in regards to the world’s food supply. As scientists have scrambled to understand what is causing this strange phenomenon, one of the most plausible explanations to emerge is that herbicides and pesticides (Neonicotinoids in particular)used on so many farms and gardens are killing the bees off.
An article in Wired.com explains,
Neonicotinoids are now a leading suspect incolony collapse disorder, a mysterious condition that’s decimating domestic and wild bee colonies across much of North America and Europe. The emergence of colony collapse disorder coincided with a dramatic increase in agricultural neonicotinoid use.”
Not only that, the rest of your garden will also benefit from having those pretty little pollinators around. If you’re having trouble growing a particular plant, the solution may very well be to invite the bees to stick around.
With that in mind we’ve come up with a few easy steps towards creating your very own Bee Garden Oasis.
1. Choose the plants bees like best. Just as you and I have our favorite foods, bees prefer certain flowers more than others. Consider including native wildflowers, flowering herbs, berries and other flowering fruits and vegetables. If you are still unsure of where to start, Artist Hannah Rosengren has put together a lovely illustrated poster with the names of 7 herbs, 7 perennials and 7 annuals that are known to attract bees.
2. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides. This includes chemicals used to care for your lawn. There are plenty of natural ways to garden and care for your yard without using harmful toxins that threaten the bee population. It’s also worth noting that many flowering weeds such as dandelions and clover are delicacies for the bees. Consider letting them grow in your yard for a happy-bee buffet.
3. Choose plants with long bloom cycles or with successive blooms. This will ensure that the bees always have something to feast upon and pollinate. Beverlybee.com suggests using a seed kit like this to make the process of choosing bee friendly plants that much easier.
4. Provide a source of fresh water. Bees need a place to hydrate. This can be as simple as including large leafy plants that collect dew in the morning or adding a lovely birdbath or fountain to your garden.
Image via Flickr
A Beginners Guide to Organic Gardening via OrganicGardening.com
Organic Lawn Care 101 via PlanetNatural.com
Plant a Bee Garden via The Honey Bee Conservancy
Planting a Bee Friendly Garden via BeverlyBees.com
Backyard Pesticide Use May Fuel Bee Die-Offs via Wired.com