Bee-Friendly Gardening

Our ecosystem is powerful; but fragile. One missing link can set off a catastrophic domino effect, just as when one area of it is thriving, the rest has the opportunity to thrive. One member of this ecosystem is our precious pollinator: the bee. Bees don't simply gather nutrients from flowers for their own honey and hive; they also help to cross-pollinate plants to ensure greenery thrives and continues to regenerate every season. Without bees, our ecosystem would be in serious danger. 

The biggest threat to bees is, believe it or not, us! With more land being developed, natural habitats are lost. With carefully manicured and planned our gardens and lawns, the plants bees need for their nutrients are cut down and plucked like weeds. With insecticide and other pollinator-removing practices, bees are dying. The perfect home for a bee would be a field of wildflowers, and every year we lose more and more of those spaces. So, what can we do to make sure bees have the space they need to continue to support our ecosystem so brilliantly? 

Plant your green space accordingly. 

The City of Calgary writes:

the pollen of some plants, such as pumpkin, squash, tomatoes and blueberries is locked tightly in their flowers. Most insects, including European honeybees, cannot access this pollen. But many of our native bees are the exception! By contracting their flights muscles, these bees can cause a strong vibration. Using their legs and mouths, bees direct these vibrations onto the anther of a flower, releasing an explosion of pollen. Travelling from flower to flower, the bee releases pollen grains from previous blooms, ensuring plants are able to produce the fruits and vegetables we rely on. Commercially bred flowers with big showy blooms that may be pleasing to us are often sterile and provide no nectar or pollen for native pollinators. To help pollinators find the appropriate resources in our urban jungle, consider planting native wildflowers with varying bloom shapes, sizes and flowering seasons. Flowers in shades of blue, yellow, white and purple are most attractive to bees. Native wildflowers with shallow blooms include Prairie Crocus, Canada Anemone, Gaillardia and Blue Flax. Species with tubular flowers include Slender Blue Beardtongue, Golden Bean, Harebell and Wild Bergamot."

Be thoughtful of the bees this summer as you develop your gardens!

(Image created via Canva)

Posted by Ken Richter on


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