Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Here is a quick way to help the bees

Plant a bee pocket garden.

Bee Colony Collapse disorder has been in the news for about a year now. Bee colony collapse disorder is something that seems to happen every 40 years or so to commercial growers. But just because it is part of a cycle doesn’t mean we can’t help bring the bee numbers back up.

I thought all bees lived in hives like honey bees. Turns out that 85% of bees live alone, not in hives. They build nests in dirt. They will need water nearby and prefer to lay eggs in soft mud rather than packed dry dirt. Dead trees or rotting logs are also good spots for nests.

To attract bees to your garden:
– Use a large variety ( 10 or more is best ) of bee friendly plants in your garden.
– Pass on the mulch, many bees lay eggs in the ground and need bare dirt to do so.
– Flowering weeds are often good providers of nectar.
– Modern hybrids often do not have much nectar compared to heirloom plants.
– Don’t use pesticides.

An added benefit is that butterflies and hummingbirds will also be attracted to your bee garden.

Some entomologists are so convinced of the importance of creating backyard habitats that they’re planting bee gardens in their own yards. Noticing that the gardens in his neighborhood are mostly filled with hybrid flowers, Lansing, Mich., entomologist Rufus Isaacs has planted native perennials and berries that attract hordes of bees — as well as nervous neighbors. “The bees are too busy eating to worry about humans as long as you watch and don’t bother them,” Mr. Isaacs says. Gardens with a buzz: gardeners work to protect beleaguered bees

I thought I’d start a pocket bee garden. I have a bed that is surrounded with Mexican Heather. The bees love the Mexican Heather. There are humming bird feeders just above the garden. They and the butterflies like many of the same flowers that the bees like.

I went to the nursery with no idea what plants to purchase. I was planning on just looking for native plants that hadn’t been over hybridized. Finding the right plants turned out to be an easy task. I found I could watch a while and some plants were full of bees, and some varieties the bees totally ignored. Now I’ll be watching for bees on all the plants I purchase.

See also:
Bee colony collapse disorder
Mexican Heather
Shrimp Plant
Bat Faced Cuphea
Hummingbird bush
Turk’s Cap
Cigar Plant

More information:
Guide to bee friendly gardens – creating a great bee garden
What’s the buzz on planting a bee garden?
Guide to bee – friendly gardens