Pollinator Plants

This spring, TheGardenLady just planted a packet of organic Sunflowers Helianthus annuus Lemon Queen (see here). These sunflowers are known to attract numerous kinds of bees and butterflies. And after they have finished blooming, I can save the seeds to plant again the following year as well as give seeds to friends so that more gardens will have a good host plant for more pollinators.

But in my garden I also have many other native plants, as well as nonnative plants, that pollinators love to nectar on. These include:

Buddleja davidii butterfly bush
Asclepias tuberosa butterfly weed
Asclepias incarnata milkweed
Monarda Bee balm
Kniphophia red hot poker plant

Scabiosa pincushion flower

Of course, TheGardenLady has many more pollinator plants, but the above list was considered among the best plants for attracting pollinators. For a more complete list of pollinator plants for your area, go here.

What are you, dear reader, doing to attract pollinators to your property that you would recommend others to also do?

Honey Bee Troubles!

Bees are in Trouble! by Richard Elzey

TheGardenLady just read the most recent articles on the death of the honey bees and other bees. (see here) The death of bees has been a concern for a number of years now, but the most recent articles are saying that this year is the worst ever – that beekeepers are seeing death rates of up to 50% of their honeybees.

TheGardenLady wrote about the frightening loss of Monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico this year. So TheGardenLady is writing this column  to beg readers PLEASE, PLEASE do NOT use pesticides in your gardens or on your grounds this year. And please spread this advice to everyone you know. Get your kids to talk about what is happening. Make it a local issue that will grow into a national issue and finally into an international issue.

Continue reading “Honey Bee Troubles!”

Bees in TheGardenLady’s garden

Chinese chives – עירית שומית by Eran Finkle

A few mornings ago, as TheGardenLady did her daily walk in the garden to see which flowers had newly opened and what butterflies were nectaring, I was astounded to see the number of bees on many of my flowers. There seemed to be more bees than ever and all were so concentrated on what they were doing, you could tell their lives depended on it.

I am so pleased to be able to meet the bees’ needs. So many of the bees on my flowers this summer have been bumble bees. I like bumble bees because they are excellent pollinators.  In fact, bumble bees are among the bees that pollinate most of the flowers. There is a Bumble Bee organization where you can learn about the importance of bumble bees.  Bumble bees pollinate but they do not share their honey.

But I love to look for honey bees. My prayer is that scientists will solve the problem of the sick honey bees and that my garden, that never uses chemicals, will play a small part in helping honey bee health. Honey bees pollinate a lot of the food or crop plants AND they give us honey. If you can’t tell the difference between bumble bees and honey bees, check out this Canadian website.

Continue reading “Bees in TheGardenLady’s garden”

Celebrate the Bees – National Honey Bee Day – August 18th

Pollinator by macropoulos

This Sat., Aug. 18 is National Honey Bee Day. Check out this website to see how you can help the Honeybees.

A few things to do

Is your garden a Honeybee Haven? TheGardenLady likes to think her garden is.

Plants that Attract Bees

bee on mint flowers-1 by Mr Po

One comment TheGardenLady received was from a beekeeper who was delighted that she has mints growing in her yard because they attract so many bees. I agree, my mint plants attract a lot of bees as do other plants and herbs that are in flower as well as the many flowering plants that are in the mint family, Lamiaceae or Labiatae, such as plants in the Agastache genus, most commonly called Hyssop. (Remember to feel for the square stem to know the plant is in the mint family. And do remember that these plants can become invasive. )

Agastache plants which bloom almost all summer long not only attract lots of bees, they attract butterflies and even attract hummingbirds but deer won’t eat them. At least two of the Agastache plant species are referred to as Hummingbird mint.  See here.

Continue reading “Plants that Attract Bees”

The Honey Bee Conservancy

Lustrous Spicy Jatropha and a busy shiny-winged Honey Bee by jungle mama

This is an update on honey bees.

This summer TheGardenLady saw numerous bees on all her flowers. It is delightful to see how happy the bees are. However, when I looked at the bees, I rarely saw a honey bee. I think I could count the number of honeybees I saw on one hand. So I have been trying to find out what is still happening to the honeybees. I haven’t read anything optimistic.

But I did find a new site called The Honey Bee Conservancy. This site was formed in response to the bee crises.  It has excellent links to other bee sites. And it recommends things that you can do to encourage honey bees and other pollinators. For example, The Honey Bee Conservancy recommends planting a garden with native, single top flowering plants that are blooming all season long.

I hope all TheGardenLady readers will become proactive in joining the bee movement. Please check out the Honey Bee Conservancy site.

Helping Bees, Our Native Pollinators

Bee pollinating a flowering ground cover by Martin_Heigan

I have read that it has been calculated that one out of every three to four mouthfuls of food we eat and beverages we drink is delivered to us by pollinators. There are thousands of native pollinators. I believe the figure is something like 20,000 worldwide.  See here.

Because of the dwindling honey bee population (honey bees are nonNative to the US),  everyone must do as much as one can to insure that we do not lose our native pollinators. Those in the US and around the world are also dying off because of pesticides being used.  See here. To insure that TheGardenLady readers help the native pollinators, this post is about some things you can do.

Pollinated! by Durotriges

The week of June 21st through June 27th was National Pollinator week.

There is an organization called Pollinators. org that encourages people around the world to create a pollinator habitat in your garden, school, farm, etc. This site will tell you which plants in the US zones will attract these beneficial insects.  If you are from out of the US perhaps you could email the Pollinator.org site to find out if they can recommend a similar organization in your country.

TheGardenLady finds that many of the plants in the mint family or herbs are especially attractive to pollinators in her garden. For example, one would never try to smell any of the oregano, lavender, agastache, or monarda flowers for fear of inhaling some type of pollinator- mostly bees- they are so prolific. Though I have only seen 2 or 3 honeybees, I see hundreds of other bees sucking up nectar in a frenzy and covered in pollen. Pollinator.org has free Pollinator friendly Planting Guides for your area of the US and you can join the Pollinator Partnership. I hope TheGardenLady readers do join and do your part in saving pollinators.

A reader from Chicago found an exciting pollinator on his echinacea plants.  See here.

How To Help Pollinators

Every reader of TheGardenLady knows the importance of pollinators to pollinate (pol·li·nate- definition of the verb; To transfer pollen from an anther to the stigma of (a flower)  flowers, vegetables and other plants, shrubs and trees.)

All agriculture depends on pollinators.  “Pollinators are essential to Life.”  We’ve read numerous articles about the problem called bee Colony Collapse Disorder (see here and here).  Or the drastic decline, globally, of butterflies (see here and here).  There is even a global bat decline (see here and here and here). All pollinators seem to be on the decline around the world.

TheGardenLady and her readers should try to do everything they can do  to help the pollinators. One of the ways to do this is to grow plants that pollinators like and need. If the pollinator is an insect, the plants you grow should encourage insects from the egg stage through the end or their lives. If the pollinator is a bat, the plants that bats would need are crucial.

Toward that end, a new website is out there. This is a new Ecoregion planting guide to attract pollinators from www.pollinators.org. On the website, the co-founder of the Pollinator partnership says “Farming feeds the world and we must remember that pollinators are a critical link in our food systems.”

This website is for the US. TheGardenLady hopes that this type of website would expand for the rest of the globe. She wishes readers  would let her know what similar websites are available in your part of the world.

Check out the website:  www.pollinator.org/guides.htm for plants you can put in your garden or farm.