Bees and all other critters need the same things we do: food, housing for the family, and a safe place to live. Bees require nectar for themselves, pollen for their offspring. Providing food is one of the best things we can do. Here are our suggestions for BEE friendly yards and neighborhoods.
- Please plant native species. (Avoid cultivars. Some do not produce as much pollen or nectar as the native species; others limit access to food due to changes in petal arrangement or shape of the flower. )
- Provide a variety of species that will bloom at different times.
- Plant in groups of the same species. A group of plants will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the garden.
- If you have limited space, work with your neighbors to create pollinator habitat with a variety of species on your block.
- Learn about how plants containing a group of pesticides known as Neonicotinoids will harm bees and other pollinators.
Pollinator Plants for the Mid Atlantic *
*Not all plants on this list are native to our area. An example is the purple coneflower. Digital Atlas of Virginia Flora is a good reference for those who want to use plants specific for Central Virginia. Refer to the map for each species.
Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant)
This post is dedicated to the memory of our friend and one of the founders of Reedy Creek Coalition, Robin Ruth. Her dying wish was “save the bees”, but we think she meant much more than that. Bees were just her project at the time. Robin cared deeply for the natural world from the soil teeming with life to the tops of the trees and every living thing between.