The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › How to Have a Bee-Friendly Yard

How to Have a Bee-Friendly Yard

Merry H.
Portland, ME
Post #: 38
The following was posted by "Honey Gal" at OCA's web forum: "I'm a beekeeper and I teach classes in bee stewardship. One thing folks can do to help, even if you aren't a beekeeper, is to make your yard bee friendly. Plant a flowering herb garden. Bees use herbs medicinally and your plants can help make a difference. I suggest rosemary, sage, THYME (lots of it), marjoram, chives, basil, all the mints and other herbs with flowers. Bees will find them. To do more, plant native flowering bushes, too. In our area (WA.) spirea and goldenrod are bee magnets. Try to have flowers in bloom through into fall. Put out a big shallow dish of water with sticks or moss in it (so they don't fall in) and keep it moist. If you can get seaweed, bees are particularly fond of the minerals so I keep a little pile of seaweed in the "bee pond." All these small actions add up and make it a little easier on your local bees."
Aaron P.
user 6845673
Falmouth, ME
Post #: 60
I'd say the #1 plant to attract bees (and other pollinators) is Anise-Hysop (Agastache foeniculum), is very easy to grow and you'll see it swarming with insects right through October. If anyone wants seeds either come to the seed swap on saturday or send me an email.
Other good ones would be: Bee Balm and Butterfly Bush, they weren't joking when they named these plants.
user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 66
the top bee plants in our gardens are sedums and any plant in the umbelliferae family. i always leave a few overwintered carrots to flower so the pollinators can feed. thyme creates bee mosh pits too! and i agree that agastache is another excellent pollinator plant. oh, and don't forget borage! the bees go ga-ga. this year i grew blue and white varieties, and blue was definitely preferred by the bees.

also, this spring i noticed not only how damn incredible the smell of willow flowers is, but that they were swarming with honey bees! another native to encourage.
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 275
Make or get a native bee house. In my yard I had great pollination but hardly any honey bees. Lots of bumblebees and osmia bees though. Virtually every peach and blueberry blossom was successfully pollinated.

Sue M.
user 3284483
South Portland, ME
Post #: 53
Overwintered parsley is my first flowering plant that the little bee and waspss flock to in the spring usually.
A former member
Post #: 116
Bumblebees seem to particularly love anise hyssop which I originally planted for my honeybees. Another one to plant for honeybees is phacelia available from Fedco. Today I noticed honeybees visiting the yellow Italian sprouting broccoli flowers that are still going. I was so happy there was still something around for them--fall asters and goldenrod are done in my yard!

Also, I learned in the design course this past summer that if you place a cocoa or coir doormat ( I got mine from Home Depot a few years ago) in a shallow area of your pond or water garden, beneficials have a place to land and suck up water without drowning. There's nothing worse than coming out in the morning and finding drowned bees.

Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 599
Yes! We call it our "pollinator landing pad." It's an old sisal door mat half submerged at one end of the frog pond. Not only do bees use it but dragonflies and the frogs themselves. We have noticed a big upsurge in pollinator activity since we installed the frog pond.
A former member
Post #: 217
Would you like to be a bee counter next year? I learned about this site that I will give from American Scientist mag.


The idea is to count "wild" bees. From the site:

By watching and recording the bees at sunflowers in your garden, you can help us understand the challenges that bees are facing.
It takes less than 30 minutes.
It's easy.
Free Sunflower seeds for planting.
No knowledge of bees required!
Enter your bee counts online or send us your paper form.
We would love to have you join us; let’s help our most important pollinators together!
South Portland, ME
Post #: 2
I plant burgundy leaved Joe Pie weed, my variety blooms in October which the bees flock to for late season nectar. I like this plant because it does well in a wide range of environments.
A former member
Post #: 118
Thanks for the Joe Pye weed tip! When bees break cluster due to fluctuating temps, it's nice to have as many late flowering plants as you can!

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