Beescapes

Do you love to see Honey Bees visiting your garden?

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Do you ever wonder what plants they prefer?  Well, here is a brief article by Peter Cole that will go into a few more details on this subject!

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Planning & Planting a Beescape

by Peter Cole, 2016 Henderson County Master Gardener Intern, Master Beekeeper

img_9664This year we converted our front lawn to a Beescape.  This means that we killed the grass, tilled up the soil, and then planted plants that are specific to honeybees.  During this process I learned a lot about planning Beescapes.

Planting a Beescape is not hard; however, there are things that will need to be considered.

An important aspect of planting a Beescape is Color Selection. Bees don’t see the colors we do, bees see the ultra violet color spectrum meaning they see red, green and orange as or close to black. Purple, Blue, White and img_7613Yellow are a bee’s favorite color. So when planting keep that in mind.

Next you need to know whether the plant will grow.  A plant that is great for bees may not grow where you are. Native plants that are specifically adapted to your area are excellent because they not only attract honeybees but also native bumblebees and green bees. In our img_7370yard, we planted native salvias and they do great, we also have different plants that are not native but have adapted to our region like basil and lemongrass.  Another thing, don’t plant hybridized plants. Most hybrids are bred for size and look and not for pollen, nectar, or smell. We avoided those plants and tried to find heirloom or natives when we could.

The last thing you should do is plan for overlapping blooming seasons. Planting plants
that bloom at different times but overlap is suggested because it provides the bees with a constant source of food. We do this in our garden by planting cold weather, warm weather, and in between weather plants. You can also provide a source of water for the bees as well. Take a bowl filled water and puts some wood chips in it.img_7452 The bees will land on the chips and take the water.

My family and I
have really enjoyed our beescape and look forward to the plants coming back next year even bigger.  We have loved seeing all the butterflies and hummingbirds that have stopped by as well as an increase in bees!

 

 


Here is a simple list of plants for you to use when trying to add some plants to your garden:

Native Plants that are preferred are:

Goldenrod, Foxglove, Lemonbalm, Liatris, Rosemary, Vitex, Blackeyed Susan, Lavender, Yarrow, Columbine, Borage, Basil, Lupine, Carolina Jasmine, Huckleberry, Aster, Obedient Plant, Salvias, Esperanza, and Coreopsis.

Host plants for butterflies :

Tiger Swallowtail :Green ash, magnolia, Mexican plum, cottonwood

Black Swallowtail:Fennel, dill, rue, parsley, Queen Anne’s lace

Gulf Fritillary : Passion vines

Texas : Shrimp plant, Mexican petunia

Snout Butterfly : Hackberry

Painted Lady : Calendula, yarrow, sunflower, borage, hollyhock

Pipevine: Dutchman’s Pipevine

Monarch: Monarch

Buckeye: Senna, clover, other legumes

A few other plants :

Annuals-Alyssum, aster, cosmos,  marigold, pentas, sunflower, verbena, zinnia

Perennials-butterfly weed, goldenrod, lantana, Mexican petunia, milkweeds, mistflower, phlox, purple coneflower, salvias, tickseed, yarrow

Trees and shrubs-ash, azalea, butterfly bush, buttonbush, elm, glossy abelia, toothache tree, willow, peach, plum, hackberry, redbud

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