As you are planning your garden this year, consider the bees.   Bees are the number one pollinator for food crops worldwide and unfortunately, beekeepers in Ontario are reporting heavy losses due to pesticides, intense weather, viruses and diseases.  Bees need help to survive and we can do our part within our own gardens.

It is easy to turn your garden into a bee friendly area. Here are some tips:

1)         When planting grasses consider using clover.

2)         Don’t be in a rush to remove weeds early in spring.  Leave the flowers for the bees until other flowers emerge.

3)         Plant/seed pollinator friendly plants in a sunny, sheltered spot.  Even a few flowers on a small balcony or patio can make a difference.

4)         Bees like blue, yellow, and purple flowers.

5)         Plant a variety of flowers that includes different shapes and sizes.

6)         Allow for a small muddy spot for bees to collect nesting material.

7)         Avoid pesticides

8)         Provide areas for nesting.  Bees like undisturbed, sparkly vegetated, mulch free soil in a warm, well drained area.

Logs and old stumps work well for some bees as do shrubs and berry stems for others.

Here is a list of Bee friendly plants:

Pollinator-friendly plants full sun

Spring interest:

1)         Cercis canadensis, eastern redbud

2)         Lupinus perennis, wild lupine

3)         Physocarpus species, ninebark

4)         Phlox paniculata, garden phlox

5)         Scabiosa species, pincushion flower

6)         Stachys byzantina, lamb’s ear

Summer interest:

1)         Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed

2)         Heliopsis helianthoides, false sunflower

3)         Liatris aspera, prairie blazing star

4)         Penstemon digitalis, foxglove beadtongue

5)         Rosa species, carpet rose

6)         Weigela species, Wiegela

Fall interest:

1)         Anemone species, fall anemone

2)         Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian sage

3)         Sedum species, autumn stonecrop

Pollinator-friendly plants partial sun:

Spring interest:

1)         Aconitum delphiniifolium, larkspurleaf monkshood

2)         Aquilegia canadensis, Canadian columbine

3)         Amelanchier species, serviceberry

4)         Baptisia alba, white wild indigo

5)         Tiarella species, foam flower

Summer interest:

1)         Agastache foeniculum, giant hyssop

2)         Allium cernuum, nodding onion

3)         Gaura species, wand flower

4)         Penstemon hirsutus, hairy beardtongue

5)         Rudbeckia hirta, blackeyed Susan

Fall interest:

1)         Echinacea pallida, pale purple coneflowers

2)         Eupatorium maculatum, Joe Pye weed

3)         Hamamelis virginiana, witch hazel

4)         Solidago species, goldenrod

5)         Symphyotrichum laeve, smooth aster,to%20stop%20using%20harmful%20pesticides.