Creating a bee-friendly sacred space in your yard is a great way to add life and vitality to your garden, a place of calming energy, inspiration and connection.
Bees are attracted to flowers, feeding on their nectar and pollen. Certain flowers give bees more of what they need to thrive. As they do, they bring joy to us as well.
In recent years, bee populations and other pollinators like butterflies have become increasingly stressed, due mostly to environmental factors. By creating a safe haven for local pollinators your garden can play a positive role in your local ecosystem. Since both people and pollinators love flowers, you’ll be creating a lovely place of regenerating for you and your family members.
All right, let’s get started!
First, find a space to devote to this purpose. If you have a garden bed already built, you’re one step ahead. Likewise, you can plant bee-friendly flowers in a container on your porch or deck or add a raised garden bed. If you want to build a new garden space, there’s an easy way that we’ll describe in a minute.
Select a spot that has sun for at least a few hours each day. This will give you the most options in selecting bee-friendly plants, trees and shrubs. Access to a water source is a big help, especially when establishing your new plants.
Types of Plants
Annuals: These grow for one season and don’t return. Sometimes they re-seed, giving bonus plants for years to come.
Perennials: These plants come back year after year. They can naturally spread, some faster than others. Perennials include trees and woody shrubs as well as plants that die to the ground and come back each year.
In designing your garden, including a mix of perennials and annuals with overlapping bloom periods will provide a constant food source for your local pollinators and a continual source of beauty and inspiration for you.
Consider including native plants in your design. Also, growing plants from seed can be a cost-effective way to populate larger garden areas with plants bees love.
Identify Bee-Friendly Plants
A quick online search will reveal local universities, departments of agriculture, vendors and garden organizations with listings of top pollinator and bee-friendly plants adapted to your area. Talk with a gardening friend – you may get some advice and even some free bee-friendly plants!
Some of my personal favorites in my garden here in Michigan are Wild Sunflowers, Lavender, Lilacs, Crocuses, and Chives.
Many bee-friendly plants in the mint family (bee balm, lavender, catnip, anise hyssop, etc) are naturally resistant to deer and other nibblers.
Easy Garden Bed Prep
Tools and Materials:
- Shovel and rake
- Utility Knife or drill with hole cutter (utility knife will easily do the job, drill is more fun)
- A net or chicken wire to cover the seeds if needed from rabbits or deer, etc.
- Soil or Soil/Compost mix
- Cardboard (use plenty)
If you’re starting a new bed for your pollinator garden, I recommend a no-dig approach to create a bed right over a section of lawn. This keeps carbon in the soil and makes for an easier start.
Put down several overlapping layers of cardboard and cover with 3-4 inches of topsoil mixed with compost. Seeds and seedlings can be planted directly into this layer, and their roots will grow through the cardboard as it softens and decomposes with watering. For larger plants, trees and shrubs, cut holes in the cardboard, removing any live turf grass underneath if it hasn’t already been smothered. Either cut and mark holes with stakes prior to applying the soil layer, or pull back soil, cut a hole and plant into it. You can use a utility knife or a drill with a hole cutter if you have it. The holes don’t have to be perfect. I just like using tools.
A bonus for both your plants and pollinators is to add Spanish River Carbonatite [INSERT HYPERLINK], which is loaded with nourishing minerals. Bags are available at www.GoodPeopleGoods.com. SRC goes a long way: 1 pound per 20 square feet. Works great for your vegetables and fruit plants and shrubs, too.
For transplants, germinating seeds and developing plants, a light spray of Clean Harvest Nutrients helps improve photosynthesis and plant health with a boost of essential zinc.
Sacred garden spaces are a place for your rest, breathe and most importantly Relax…
Whether you are tending your plants or just basking in their beauty, having a sacred space in your garden is a great reminder to take a deep breath and relax. The safe space you build for pollinators will become a place of enjoyment and renewal for you as well.