Maybe you’ve just nabbed the keys to your new house or have been eyeing the patch of grass in your backyard for some time.
Either way, you’ve probably thought about building a home garden. It’s a great way to get outdoors and beautify your home, but starting from scratch can be daunting.
Thanks to Bees Matter, planting your first seeds is easier than ever before. They’re giving away free Buzzing Garden seed packets in time for National Planting Week (June 5 to 12) that contain seeds for flowers that are particularly attractive to pollinators like honey bees.
Whether you’re new to the gardening game or boast a healthy green thumb, a pollinator-friendly garden is an easy addition to your home. These gardens are designed to create nutritious habitats for honey bees and other pollinators — and can help boost your harvest of flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Honey bee health is impacted by many factors, including inclement weather, parasites and diseases and a lack of accessible and nutritious food. That’s why it’s important that Canadians plant wildflowers to attract these pollinators to their gardens.
An average hive houses 60,000 honey bees, which collectively visit about 225,000 flowers each day. While traveling, honey bees are constantly looking for nectar, which gives honey bees their energy. Pollen, their second source of food, provides proteins and fats. Without enough nectar and pollen, the honey bees won’t have enough food to feed their hive through the winter.
Some flowers are irresistible to pollinators, which means you can help support pollinators like honey bees in your own garden rather easily. Each Buzzing Garden seed packets contains five non-invasive varieties of flowering plants that honey bees and other pollinators love.
The flowers — Lance-Leaved Coreopsis, New England Aster, Dense Blazing Star, Golden Tickseed and Sneezeweed — bloom at different times to provide honey bees with nutritious food through the season.
These plants aren’t picky and thrive in a variety of conditions, which makes for hassle-free gardening. To get started, loosely sprinkle the seeds on top of the dirt and cover loosely with soil, either with your hands or a small rake. Water them well to maximize their shot at germinating.
Watering is a fine art in itself. Avoid over-watering, which can spur the growth of fungus and mold and drown plant roots. To prevent your plants from wilting, use your thumb to poke a one-inch hole in the soil. If the soil at the bottom is dry, it’s time to water your plants.
Take note that some seeds are annual and others are perennial, which means that some of your plants will come back next season. Even urban dwellers can play a part. You can plant a garden on a small plot of land or a rooftop or window container to provide sources of nutrition for honey bees and other pollinators.
Besides enriching your garden, planting pollinator-friendly flowers in both urban and rural environments helps raise awareness of an important challenge facing honey bees today: a lack of nutritious food sources.
Statistics Canada reports that the honey bee population in Canada is on the rise, growing by more than 150,000 in the past decade. With a little extra effort, we can keep it that way.
Your home — and pollinators like honey bees — will thank you for it.