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.

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To Eliminate Bad Insects You Must Attract Good Insects

Lady Bugs by Roger Lynn

TheGardenLady just attended an entomology lecture the other day. Insects are interesting and one has to learn how to deal with them both with indoor and outdoor plants. The safest way to get rid of the bad insect pests is to encourage good insects to your place. These beneficial insects do an amazing job keeping your garden pest free. By using pesticides or insecticides, you know that you will be killing off the good insects with the bad. So unless it is the last resort, you want to avoid poisons. You want to know how to encourage good insects by planting plants that will support the beneficial insects at all stages of their lives.

What are some of the good/beneficial insects? We all know about honey bees, butterflies and Lady bugs but here is a more complete list with photos of other beneficial insects.

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Growing Mints and Herbs in your Dorm

yerba buena by randomtruth
yerba buena by randomtruth

TheGardenLady received this question from Jessica.

I was wondering what you thought about Yerba buena. I discovered this plant today and love the lemony minty smell to it. I wanted to know if it’s a dorm friendly plant. I’ll be living in Mills College in Oakland, CA. I was thinking of buying a small bamboo shoot and another plant (yerba buena?). Maybe you can recommend other plants the do well in dorm rooms and has a nice fragrance (not to strong)? I also like plants that can be used for different things, like made into a tea to sooth the throat. Something like that.

Yerba buena is Spanish for good herb. Another common name is Oregon-tea. The Latin name is Satureja (savory) douglasii, sometimes called Clinopodium douglasii and is in the Lamiaceae or Mint family. The common name Yerba Buena has been applied to several species of mint, especially Spearmint (Mentha spicata), but in the West it generally refers to Sartureja douglasii.

Sartureja douglassi is native to western N. America. It grows in redwood forests and was much used by tribes in the Pacific Northwest. It needs moist, sandy, slightly acid loam and partial shade when grown outdoors. It is used as a trailing plant for the front of window boxes and hanging baskets in semi-shade. TheGardenLady has never heard of it’s being used as an indoor plant, but since most mints will grow indoors, give it a try. Just know that it is a creeping perennial that likes to spread up to 6 ft. across. So give it a big pot, put it in a window with good light but not sun and keep the soil moist. If you are lucky, you will be able to make a mild tea from the leaves.

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