I’ve been growing perennial flower and herb gardens for a number of years but it has only been in the last few years that I’ve started focusing on intentionally attracting bees to our gardens. I was thrilled when I had the chance to get a review copy of The Bee Friendly Garden to read and share about here on the blog. I always get excited when seeing the different types of bees and other insects that are attracted to our flowering plants. Now with my new knowledge gained from reading this book, we will hopefully be attracting even more bees to our gardens thanks to the tips I learned in this book!
This book starts out with an overview of the different types of bees that may visit the plants in your garden. I was amazed at the number of bees and variety of native bees that exist, I had no idea! I of course am familiar with honey bees since we have our own bee hives. Bumble bees and sweat bees are also commonly spotted around here. But there all these other native bees that have probably been visiting our plants and I had no idea!
There are many types of bee friendly gardens and this book does a great job explaining the general types and how to plant them. One thing I found rather interesting was learning that bees prefer certain colors of flowers, specifically blue, white, pink and yellow. I used to select my flowering perennial plants based on their heartiness for cold and often whatever I could find in the sale section at the local greenhouse to expand my flower gardens on a budget. Now that I know bees prefer specific colors of flowers over others, this will also influence the plants I choose to grow in my gardens! This probably also explains why I’ve noticed that the honey bees visiting our vegetable garden prefer to visit certain flowering vegetables more often than the others.
My favorite part of this book is the “Regional Plant List” in the back of the book that lists bee friendly garden plants that grow well in specific areas of the country. This is quite helpful since we have such temperature variations here in Montana and our growing season is short. The bee friendly garden plants that grow well in Pennsylvania or Texas might not grow well in Montana. I was excited to see that there were several plants on the Rocky Mountain/Intermountain West Region list that I already grow in my perennial flower garden. I’m planning to copy this list and keep it in my wallet so I can reference it during my visits to the greenhouse.
Since becoming beekeepers several years ago, I became more aware of the need to have plants for our honey bees to forage from early spring through fall. In the spring, the honey bees go crazy for all the flowering trees in our orchard. I just love walking through the orchard and hearing the loud chorus of buzzing emanating from our trees. As the fruit trees stop flowering, more dandelions start emerging in our pastures and early season perennial flowers start blooming. Then the hundreds of acres of alfalfa around our homestead finally start blooming and our honey bees have plenty to forage and feast for the summer months.
I’ve always noticed that by fall, especially in a dry year, there is less and less for our honey bees to forage. Thanks to this book I now have some great ideas of plants to grow that will bloom late into the season. This will provide additional forage for our honey bees so they don’t have to start dipping into the honey in their bee hives that is intended to be saved up for them to feast on during the long, cold winters.
I enjoyed reading The Bee Friendly Garden and recommend it to anyone who is interested in attracting a variety of bees to your garden. Plus don’t forget about that handy list of bee friendly garden plants specific to each US region included in the book- to me that is the handiest part of the book!
Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of this book for my review in exchange for sharing my honest review!