Fall and Winter Garden Prep for Bee Lovers
People are more aware than ever of the need to support pollinators if we as a species wish to survive. Many gardeners have decided to protect pollinators by creating wildflower patches, raised beds or working in community gardens. As autumn shifts to winter it can be particularly challenging for bees, whether they live in hives or are solitary and seeking a home for the winter in your garden debris.
Here at Bee Mission we are obsessively focused on all bees, but there are more than 200,000 species of pollinators that help to create the world’s food, including native bees, bats, moths and other beneficial insects. Some of these enrich your garden’s ecosystem and boost your flowers and fruits.
According to Pollinator Partnership, between 75-95% of all plants need pollination, and one in every 3 bites of food we eat is pollinated by bees.
What we can’t always seem to get done on a community level, we can accomplish in our own back yards by creating gardens on our balconies, patios and even on rooftops. Maintaining fresh water sources, planting flowers that produce nectar and pollen or buying potted flowers are ways we can help. As wild habitats and protected parklands decrease worldwide, imagine the power of each of us doing our own little bit to help local bees.
Here is the lovely beekeeper Tanya over at Lovely Greens on the Isle of Man with some words of wisdom about preparing her beloved honeybees for winter in this 5:36-minute video:
Here are just a few flowers to consider now: hyssops, dahlias, echinacea coneflowers, sages and black-eyed-Susans. Preferably open, single flowers rather than tightly packed clusters because pollinators prefer them.
This works even for the lazy gardener — you can set and forget, and literally do nothing. Skip your usual fall cleanup and put away your clippers. Let some fallen leaves rest where they may, as well as sticks, brush or rock piles in quiet corners because these may create nesting spots. Feed birds by leaving seed heads of sunflowers, echinacea, rosehips, grasses and edible berries.
Remember that when fall winds and rains send us indoors to our warm, cozy homes, non-migrating pollinators are still outside in the inclement weather and they need food.
What have you done for bees today? It's easy. Put out a dish of clean water with a leaf floating in it, plant some bulbs for spring and summer but buy some autumn and winter blooming flowers to help them out right now when they need it most. Even buying a jar of local honey at a farmers market from a community beekeeper helps bees and their humans.
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