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Consider a Bee Garden AND SUPPORT OUR NATIVE POLLINATORS / By Lisa Millette Article contributed by Camphill Village

BEE BALM

HYSSOP

BLACK-EYED SUSANS

DAISY

t Turtle Tree, we are interested in educating the gardening community so that they can grow and care for the earth more effectively and confidently. This spirit of education also encourages the sharing of new (or perhaps long-forgotten) tips and experiences fostering open dialogue among gardeners, growers, seed savers, and food enthusiasts.

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From squash and cucumber blossoms to tomato and onion flowers, many of the flowers vegetables produce are loved by bees and are necessary for fruit and seed production. Allow members of the brassica family such as arugula, broccoli, or mustard greens to bolt and flower in the fall as they will withstand the first frosts, providing pollen long after other flowers have died.

In recent years, supporting the honeybee and providing food sources for our local pollinators has emerged as a topic of importance. We’ve come to realize how much weight rides on the back of our pollinators to get food on our tables. Thus, a common question we’ve been fielding is: “What are good bee plants?”

Many wildflowers and “weeds” also produce blossoms that are food for our pollinating friends. Chicory, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), catmint (such as catnip), clover, daisy, joe-pye weed, goldenrod, and dandelion are just a few. Allowing these to flourish in your yard or at the fence lines of your garden will give the bees added reasons to visit your garden, and provide habitat for other beneficial insects as well.

When planting out an area for bees, it is important to have a diversity of plants that bloom throughout the seasons – some early blooms, midseason, and late season flowers. Plant swatches of the same type of plant so they can be easily found. Make decisions on what to plant based on how much time and cultivation you would like to put into your pollinator garden. Bees enjoy many perennial herbs such as bergamot (bee balm), hyssop, Echinacea purpurea (coneflower), sage, chives, and lavender – these plants will come back year after year and provide you and your bees with culinary delight! Crocus, columbine, and lilac are early-blooming perennial flowers loved by bees, while cup plant and sedum bloom in the fall, providing late season nourishment. Anise hyssop, borage, dill, basil, phacelia, buckwheat, cosmos, foxglove, dahlias, and sunflowers make great annual herbs and flowers for your bee garden. Buckwheat and phacelia are especially wonderful to include as they are early bloomers and will reseed themselves.

CHICORY 6

Ever thought about growing your own apples or peaches? Flowering trees or shrubs such as fruit trees bloom in the spring, producing much-needed early-season nutrition for bees.

Spring / Early Summer 2020 | www.OurBerkshireTimes.com

Open-pollinated seed sources are best for pollinator gardens as flowers from hybridized seed will not yield as much pollen. It may go without saying, but just in case: eliminate the use of pesticides, herbicides, or any harsh chemical that might poison bees. So whether you keep your own bees or want to support native pollinators, add some flowers to your garden or yard this year! Even one container with one type of flowering plant may give that hungry worker bee enough energy to complete her journey back to the hive. ~ Lisa Millette is the former assistant seed garden manager at Turtle Tree Seed, a small, nonprofit seed company that sells more than 385 varieties of 100 percent open-pollinated vegetable, herb, and flower seeds that are grown using Demeter certified Biodynamic® and organic practices. Turtle Tree Seed is part of Camphill Village, an integrated community located nearby in Copake, NY, where individuals with developmental differences are living a life of dignity, equality, and purpose. Visit Turtle Tree Seed at www.turtletreeseed.org.

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Our BerkshireTimes Magazine, Spring / Early Summer 2020  

Our BerkshireTimes Magazine is your resource for local events, community news, and vibrant living in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts....

Our BerkshireTimes Magazine, Spring / Early Summer 2020  

Our BerkshireTimes Magazine is your resource for local events, community news, and vibrant living in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts....

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