Every time I feel like a water pig, out there with the hose trying to keep my parking strip plants going through the driest part of the summer (i.e. right now), I try to remind myself that having flowers instead of grass is a happy thing for the bees. With all the reports of “hive collapse” and an article in today’s Seattle Times about how to attract bees to the garden, it got me thinking about which flowers seem to keep those critters buzzing the loudest.
The English lavender that is everywhere at our place is a big one in the early summer when it’s in blossom (see Prima Post photo for bee action shot). They also love the purple-blue flowers of rosemary, which tend to be out in late spring – early summer. Later in the season, sunflowers and calendulas are big attractors. They also love the California poppies that many folks consider to be weeds but that I use as a volunteer space filler in early spring until I’m ready to put in more annuals and other stuff.
Apparently they prefer yellow, orange, white and purple flowers, leaving the bright red ones to hummingbirds. I’ve seen them on our coreopsis, blanket flower, and sage flowers, all either orange or purple, so that seems to fit. We don’t have a lot of white flowers except erigeron (i.e. fleabane, great easy-care low-growing perennial), but they do love that:
So, do your part to avert the global disaster that would befall us if the bees were no more – plant some stuff they like! UC Berkeley has a great list here of plants for an urban bee garden.