10 Jun Planting a Bee-Friendly Garden
Looking for an easy way you can help bees? Plant a bee-friendly garden! Not only will you be providing food sources to friendly bees, but you are also contributing to food security and a healthier ecosystem.
Did you know that almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination? One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators and that crops that depend on pollination are five times more valuable than those that do not.
How exactly does it work? Plants rely on bees and other insects to reproduce and so they have adapted, over time, to become more attractive to them. Bees are drawn to plants with open or flat tubular flowers with lots of pollen and nectar. A flower’s scent can have particular appeal to bees, and its bright colours may lure the bees in. When a bee collects nectar and pollen from the flower of a plant, some pollen from the stamens—the male reproductive organ of the flower—sticks to the hairs of her body. When she visits the next flower, some of this pollen is rubbed off onto the stigma, or tip of the pistil—the female reproductive organ of the flower. When this happens, fertilization is possible, and a fruit, carrying seeds, can develop.
Food that needs pollination:
When planting a bee-friendly garden, it’s important to select plants that are most attractive to bees. Bees prefer blue, purple, violet, white and yellow flowers, so stay away from anything red or pink. Try to also select plants that flower at different times so that there’s food for bees all season long.
Here are some of Urban Roots Garden Market’s favourite bee-friendly plants:
The best known of the bunch, English lavender, is a beautiful and aromatic flowering shrub that is covered with tons of purple blooms through summer. It makes an excellent choice for low informal hedging and in borders and formal gardens; plant near doors and walkways where the lovely scent can be appreciated.
Height: 3 feet | Spread: 3 feet | Sunlight: Full Sun (6+ hours a day)
This hardy perennial (meaning it comes back year after year) flowers throughout the summer making for an attractive, and fragrant addition to any garden!
Height: 14 to 16 inches | Spread: 16 to 20 inches | Sunlight: Full Sun
There are several different varieties of dahlias but to really bring all the bees to your yard, stick to purple ones. These Royal Purple Dahlias are a wonderful mounded variety with vigorous growth and large, deep purple double blooms that make a lovely accent feature in patio containers and flower beds.
Height: 18 inches | Spread: 16 inches | Sunlight: Full Sun to Part Shade
Purple Coneflower or Echinacea
These tall, almost daisy-like flowers are great for adding height to your garden. Make sure to deadhead (cut off dead blooms) to encourage new blooms.
Height: 16 to 20 inches | Spread: 12 to 18 inches | Sunlight: Full Sun
In addition to feeding bees, chives will also feed you, or at least you can use them to flavour your food. The green stalks have a mild onion taste that goes great with potatoes and salads.
Height: 12 to 20 inches | Spread: 12 to 20 inches | Sunlight: Full Sun to Part Shade