Guest post by Clara Beaufort
Bees, unfortunately, are disappearing at a rapid rate. Those of us who are already gardeners are doing their part to sole the problem by setting up a bee-friendly series of plants. The Honey Bee Conservancy offers some tips for those who are not aware of what makes a garden attractive to pollinators like bees. Bee-friendly gardening is a year-round task, and with fall approaching it’s important to prepare. Winterizing your garden and planting cool weather-blooming species that will keep the bees coming back are crucial steps in making fall adjustments.
Why Bees are So Important
The Natural Resources Defense Council offers some statistics and facts that show just how important human-bee relations are. Bees’ primary benefit to humans is through the pollination of crops that result in nutrient-rich foods. Bees extract nectar from plants, and as they go from plant to plant, they leave pollen that allows the plant to bloom and, in many cases, yield crops.
But, as Global Research documents, the bees are not alright. They are disappearing and dying at an alarming rate, so making your garden cater gardening to bees is more pressing than ever before. This includes keeping them in your garden year-round, so knowing how to prepare a garden for fall without losing its bee residents is key to achieving that goal.
Winterizing Your Garden
There are several steps you can take to give your garden a shot at lasting through the cold season. If you can afford to build a greenhouse, you can proceed as if the seasons were unchanging. For most, however, this will not be practical.
So take other steps that are conducive to fall and winter garden vitality. HGTV recommends weeding and laying down mulch, as well as tying plants to support sticks with natural fibers. This will help discourage wilting as the weather intensifies. They also recommend adding extra compost and peat moss, as plants can use as many nutrients as possible when the weather turns.
Helping the Bees Make it Through the Season
The primary way that gardeners can ensure bees make it through the winter season is by planting species of vegetation that will bloom during these cool months. British Columbia Farms and Food lists several species of flowers that will attract bees through the winter. They include rosemary, primrose, heather, calendula, crocus, and others.
This guide is helpful, but every region is a bit different. Talk to local nurseries and gardening experts to find which species are most likely to thrive in your particular region, and get to planting before fall arrives.
Bees and gardening are like peanut butter and jelly. Bees extract food from plants, and in the process of doing so, they spread flowers’ seeds and help to ensure that plants make it to bloom. Planting species that cater to bees is a win-win, the perfect combination of beauty and practicality. It’s in gardeners’ self-interest to keep bees around throughout the changing seasons. With bees dying and disappearing, they are doing the bees a great service by planting plants that attract and feed them even through the cooler months.
Clara Beaufort is a retired small business owner, who was born with two green thumbs. Recently, she handed the reins of the business she ran for 30 years over to her daughter. But retirement didn’t slow her down. She immediately got to work organizing and growing a community garden, but found her passion for gardening still wasn’t satisfied. And so the seed for a new business idea was planted! She created GardenerGigs to connect local gardeners with those in need of plant care help.
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