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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Great Sunflower Project

As some of you may know, I subscribe to the The Buzz, a newsletter from The Great Sunflower Project, giving ideas as to making our world more bee friendly. I wanted to share this article for those of you interested in having a bee friendly garden this year.
Sunflower-header
The BUZZ: Creating a Bee-Friendly World


Creating an environment that provides shelter and food for pollinators is one of the most rewarding of garden activities. You can do it anywhere – city rooftops, school gardens, a sidewalk strip or your own back yard. For very little effort, you can create beautiful and critical habitat for native bees and abundant forage for honey bees.
Not only will your fruits and vegetables benefit by increase pollination efficiency, but you will be creating a great opportunity for observing bees and other pollinators. Some of my most memorable times in nature have been spent lazily observing bees and butterflies visiting my favorite plants.
You can enhance your existing garden or start something new this year. I invite you to take the “add a yard to your yard” challenge in 2011. Here’s how:
  • Select one square yard, (36” x 36” ) to transform into a pollinator garden. Make sure that the site gets ample sunlight and a source of water is nearby.
  • Choose plants to fill your square yard that will bloom continuously throughout the season. Diversity is key. Think about three to five plant varieties in bloom at all times. Make sure to include ‘Lemon Queen’ Sunflowers to anchor your planting and observe and report your bee observations

    • Some other good choices might be California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) ‘Tropical Sunset’, Echinacea (E. purpurea), Bee Balm (Monarda ‘Bergamo Bouquet’), along with cosmos and alyssum. (Here’s photo of last year’s effort in a local community garden, including cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) and a big beautiful clump of a white form of borage. 
    • community garden
    • We let the carrots and radishes go to seed, too, for extra pollen and nectar. )
    • Like our white borage, most pollinators are attracted to obvious clusters of blooms, so plan to group similar plants together for maximum effect.
    Low-cost and beautiful seeds can be found at Renee’s Garden Seeds. Check out their site, and don’t forget to enter the Coupon Code FR225A, so that the Great Sunflower Project will receive a portion of the proceeds to continue our work.
    To find out much more information on planting for pollinators, check out the new Xerces Society Guide to “Attracting Native Pollinators.” You can order your copy through our web site at a discounted price.
    Once your pollinator garden is in full swing, share your success stories and pics with us!
    Here’s to making a difference by creating a more bee-friendly world,
    (Image: courtesy of Google Image Search)

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9 comments:

Ann said...

I never gave it a thought to attract bees to my garden, I've always been too annoyed by all the hornets and wasps that buzz around us when we sit out on the deck in the summer.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Great post Doris. Have you ever tried crocheting with plastic shopping bags. I have just learned. Pop over and check out my blog for Wednesday.
QMM

Ginny said...

We have lots and lots of bees around our yard, it will be interesting to see if we have just as many this spring and summer.

Caroline said...

Thanks for promoting the sunflower!
Your friend from the sunflower state, C.

Julies Knit and Sew Corner said...

That was a really interesting post Doris with some helpful tips.
Julie.C

glor said...

With the orchards so close we are surrounded by bees. About 1/4 mile into the orchards are bee hives that the farmers have set up. And yes,thank God for the bees or the orchards would not bear the fruit they do.

Chatty Crone said...

Yikes - I am a little afraid of those critters myself but i know they are so good for us!
sandie

Feisty said...

I definitely have a bee-friendly yard, with the vegetable garden, herbs and lots of bee balm and other flowers that deer will not eat.

Clara said...

This is so important Doris and thanks for sharing it. I do make the choice every year now.