BUZZing sounds are music in my garden.
But the plight and decline of the honeybee population is a troubling one. It makes me happy to know that our garden is, in some small measure, providing a safe haven of organic (pesticide free) plant life, that supports the health of bees in our area. Flowering trees (like the 'glory bower' above) is buzzing with bees this month. It's a late bloomer and nice for keeping bees around long after the flowers have faded. And not only bees, but butterflies and hummingbirds also feed from it.
Then there's the herb garden. Herbs are wonderful for attracting bees. They need nothing in the way of pest control or fertilizers and many are perennial (in most climates), and just keep on giving year after year without fuss. Another benefit of course, is that the wild rabbits and deer have little interest in herbs; I use a lot of them to fill in the landscape around here (in addition to cooking with them). A couple of years ago, we removed two thirds of the front lawn and replanted a portion of it with herbs along the road. Once established, herbs require little maintenance and are drought tolerant.
Here's how it looks right now. These varieties of thyme and lavender make lovely ground covers and help keep weeds in check. But mostly, planting herbs is a nice way to spread a little "bee love" around.
Some common herbs bees like:
Lavender & Russian Sage--these flowers have staying power, the bees visit them all through the seasons.
Borage & Comfrey--nectar rich; replenishes itself quickly, like every few minutes!
Thyme--I plant a lot of this everywhere, it's aromatic and useful in the kitchen, as well as beautiful and long-flowering. There are many varieties and color variations.
Mint, Catnip, Oregano, Lemon Balm--bees love the flowers of all varieties; these can spread though so plant in pots, or in a raised beds if you are concerned about a particular plant invading your flower beds. Or you may be doing this.
Rosemary & Hyssop--spring flowering; both grow into woody shrubs and stay green all year.
Beekeepers and bee associations across the country are joining together to bring awareness of the bee industry with "National Honeybee Day", August 17, 2013. This event was started in 2009 by a small group of grassroots beekeepers who petitioned for and obtained a formal proclamation by the USDA honoring honey bees and beekeeping.
If you're wondering what all the fuss over bees is about, read the alarming details here, and take a look at the Vanishing of the Bees documentary. If beekeeping isn't for you, check out all these other ways you can help. (For the record I am not receiving any monetization to endorse anyone. Just passing on the info which I think is worth a look.)
I thought this was the bees knees. It made me SMILE. Check out the fancy footwork. Enjoy!
HoneyLove is a non-profit conservation organization on a mission to protect and educate and inspire new urban bee keepers.
I've uploaded this to Flickr. Flickr has made lots of changes recently and the image links are imbedded now, so this may be tricky for some. I'll try and explain. If someone knows a simple way, please tell us!
OK. There are a couple of ways to do it. Click on the image to open it in flickr and click on that image; choose VIEW ALL SIZES > size MEDIUM 800. Choose 'Download the Medium 800 size of this photo' and select OPEN in the pop-up box. This will open a print window that allows you to print out the pattern. If you are unable to adjust the size you want--choose 'SAVE AS' (instead of OPEN), and save it to a file that you can work with, like photoshop for example.
If this is all too confusing, just do what I do; click on everything until you find something that works!
BEE back later . . .