Welcome my virtual classroom ! Today we are exploring Bee’s :
Honey bees — wild and domestic — perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts and vegetables are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops — which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition — are pollinated by bees.
Your garden can bee a haven
But what can mere gardeners do about such a huge problem? Plenty, in fact, as gardens are wonderful resources for bees, often managed in a gentler way than surrounding countryside and with a greater diversity of inhabitants and habitats. By planting the right vegetables and flowers, you can create an attractive environment for bees right in your back yard.
One helpful move is to garden organically. While there are questions over the specific ways pesticides may affect bees, you should give up on using chemicals in your garden. By doing so, our gardens can become safe havens for the troubled bee population. Perhaps our most important role, however, is providing the right kinds of food, which comes in the form of pollen, held deep within flowers. Happily, we happen to like the same things as bees, albeit for entirely different reasons.
Bees have a mutually beneficial existence with angiosperms (flowering plants). But not every flower is created equal in the eyes of a bee. Bees are attracted to flowers based on color, scent, and appearance. Modern plant breeding has made life a little harder for bees than it once was. Breeders have taken a fancy to double flowers, thick with multiple petals. These flowers hide nectar deep down inside beautiful ruffles of pink, purple, or orange. If the flowers even have any nectar left after so much breeding for fine looks, bees just can’t find it.
Try planting simple, old-fashioned, single flowers that are brimful of nectar. Herbs such as lavender, catmint, sage, thyme, fennel, and chives are among the best. An herb bed will be buzzing with bees on a sunny day.
Along with choosing simpler flowers, choose a spread of flowers across the year. Queen bees emerge from hibernation in spring and need an instant hit of nectar to break their fast. They will throw themselves gratefully at cranesbill and chives, sucking up the nectar as if they have just made it across the Sahara. Plant these early risers next to early blossoming nectarines, peaches, and apricots and you are guaranteed pollinating visitors and plenty of fruit later in the year. Here is a chart of good flowers to plant over the growing season.
Plant at least three different types of flowers in your bee garden to ensure blooms through as many seasons as possible. This will provide bees and other pollinators with a constant source of food. For example:
- – Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac provide enticing spring blooms in a bee garden.
- – Bees feast on bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta in the summer.
- – For fall, zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod are late bloomers that will tempt foragers.