Last summer’s weather was hot and dry, resulting in little honey stores for my bees. If I didn’t want them to starve this winter, I was forced to start feeding them sugar water, and have continued until now. I will soon switch to a solid patty, to help them make it through the winter.
This was the first year in many years that we had not planted a garden, and this only added to a lack of nectar and pollen for a good winter honey store. Bees need a variety of plant sources to give them a continuous supply of nectar and pollen. Better planning on my part would not only have given the bees ample supply for the upcoming winter, but would have allowed me to have a jar or two for myself.
Bees like large blocks of plants, so instead of planting bee- loving plants here and there, provide large areas of planting.
This year the garden is coming back, and I have plans to devote a large section to a pollinator mix, specially formulated to include annuals and perennials.
Bees also love herbs, and there are some that are a great addition to your pollinator garden. I added a garden area around my beehive and plan to plants herbs all in this area this spring. I included a couple of pots to hold invasive plants like mint. All of the grass will be cleared out, the soil amended, and made ready for my herbs this spring. My garden junk worked it’s way into the plan, and a bird bath that now holds bird seed will be a water source for the bees next summer.
When providing water for your bees, you need to add pebbles or small rocks in the shallow container, or they will drown.
Herbs to consider for your bee garden include:
Monarda (bee balm). I will plant this at the back near the gate since they grow tall. This bee balm is planted next to the split rail fence in my yard. It can be invasive, so just pull up the ones you don’t want and plant somewhere else or discard. This spring, when they start to emerge, I will transplant some to the bee garden.
Anise hyssop. You can see the bees love this plant. It grows about 18 inches high so it will be planted in front of the bee balm and to the side of the hive.
Lemon balm, catmint, oregano, borage, basil, chives, and thyme. Allow some of these plants to flower for the bees to use as a source of nectar. These are my chives flowering last summer. Low growing, spreading thyme will either be planted in the front of the bed, or could be placed in pots.
Have you ever tasted lavender honey? Beehives placed in fields of lavender produce a lavender honey that is delicious. Lavender can get quite large, but it deserves a place in the corner of my garden.
Before you decide to get bees, or if you currently keep bees, it’s a good idea to be sure you have enough sources of plants for both pollen and nectar. This will ensure plenty of honey for your bees to carry them over the winter and enough for them to provide you with fresh honey.
I have include an affiliate link from Amazon in this post. Please see my disclosure here.
Just click on the picture to purchase your pollinator mix.
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