Here at Laurel we are super passionate about bees! We like all sorts of bees. We even like the letter B! Seriously though, we have committed to fight for our pollinators, because we know that without them, there would be no us. We plant pollinator gardens at home and we carry many bee friendly plants at the store. We only carry plants that are all neonictinoids free. You will also find bee friendly gardening products in the store, just look for the “Our Water, Our World” signage (for more info on Our Water, Our World click here).
If you want to help the bees out, here are some great ideas for your bee garden:
The California Poppy– We don’t carry these as seedlings because they are so easy to start from seed. We even have a simple seed bomb recipe that we use to cover large areas:
The 411 Poppy seed bomb: 4 parts organic clay, 1 part organic compost, 1 part poppy seeds
-Knead ingredients together, Rolls into ½” balls, let dry 24-48 hours, Toss onto that dry lot out back.
Pumpkin, Squash, Zucchini– Honey Bees and Squash bees love these members of the gourd family. The best part is that these are not only good for bees, but good for us as well. Aside from the nutritional, decorative, and fun value of these plants, they also happen to be California natives which is always a better choice environmentally. Check out the Stan’s Kitchen (our sibling store) recipe page for a great idea on what to do with all those zucchini (other than just sneak it onto your neighbors porch)
Sunflowers– This is another California native that grew up alongside California bees. The sunflower is such an easy and vital plant in a bee garden that there is a whole program centered on just getting people to plant more sunflowers. If you are interested you can find that information here.
Salvia (a.k.a sage) – The word salvia means ‘to heal’. With that, it’s pleasant aroma, alleged cleansing properties, and multiple uses in the kitchen, this is a great plant for a bee garden. Some sage is native to California, just check the labels if you are trying to plant native.
Lavender– lavender has become such a part of our lives that it is easy to forget that this is not a California native plant. And while all manner of bees love it remember that like most strong smelling substances a lot of people (including the one writing this blog) are allergic to lavender. That being said, this is by far the easiest and most consistent plant on the list and if you are a novice gardener, lavender is going to give you the most bang for your buck, both in overall aesthetic appeal and in bee health.
This is just a small sampling of plants that are good for your bee garden. If you want more advice stop by and talk to one of our garden staff, or attend one of our yearly pollinator events, where we invite local beekeepers to come and teach us all on how to take care of our little pollinating pals.