I believe it was Albert Einstein who said that without bees, the human species would go extinct within four years.
Honeybees are so essential to our entire food supply and they’re dying off in scary numbers. Between colony collapse and sheer lack of food, our honeybees are disappearing. In my city, we can’t own bees without a whole lot of paper work and fees and inspections etc, etc, so I decided to dedicate part of my garden to bee friendly plants.
Since I live in Canada, I can be somewhat limited to what plants will live here. This year the weather has been especially all over the place (to the point where several people I know had their furnaces on last night, almost a full week into June) and I’ve only seen two honeybees in my yard. But here’s a quick list of what I’ve planted that my local bees seem to love.
Lavender – I have several lavender plants that I used to use for my soap business but even when I harvest, I leave several stalks that are constantly visited by our bees.
Bee balm – (monarda) produces amazing spiky flowers and is always surrounded by bees.
Strawberries – although I don’t grow these specifically for the bees, the flowers bloom fairly early and give the bees something to pollinate before the other plants show up.
Clover – I have a small piece of the property that isn’t maintained and it is crawling with clover. Anytime I pull up clover from any other part of the lawn, I throw it there to help seed it. I’m sure we’ve all heard of clover honey?
Lilac – although this plant belongs to one of the neighbors and not me, I stay away from it because its surrounded by bees while in bloom.
Most of these plants are fairly hardy regardless of where you are in North America, so consider placing some of them on your land. We all need bees. Please try to avoid commercial insecticides as well and try a natural alternative such as companion planting, soapy water or manual pest removal.
Check out this book:100 Plants to Feed the Bees