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Planting With Pollinators in Mind

The unpredictable weather in Washington State has been toying with us locals but in recent weeks we have been able to see the hopeful signs of this year’s Spring. We have exciting plans for the warm days to come and that includes our gardens. Have you taken the time to map out your summer garden yet? This year we are very excited to cultivate a garden that encourages some of the most helpful visitors a garden can have: bees!

a honeybee flying to a flower

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), pollinators (including bees, butterflies, moths, birds, and other small animal life) are responsible in part for seventy-five percent of the world's consumable crops!1 Here are some of our favorite consumable plants that will also make our bee friends happy to stop by:

- Basil

- Mint

- Pumpkin

- Rosemary

- Strawberries

- Zucchini

We should note, the herbs varieties listed are a lot more successful as pollinator attractants when they have gone to seed. In seasons past we have made the mistake of planting herbs near entry points and sitting areas which we advise against so that you can have the best of both worlds; a pollinated garden and room to coexist comfortably.

Did you know, bees can also see colors on the ultraviolent spectrum?

a honeybee on a pink flower

They are particularly attracted to blue, purple, and violet hues. What are some of your favorite flowers in this color field? That is a great place to start. Here are some ideas for you:

- Borage

- Catnip

- Lavender

- Giant Hyssop

- Marjoram

- Mexican Sunflower

- Purple Cornflower

It is important to note, while cultivating a garden that promotes pollinators, another step to take is considering what kind of habitat you are inviting them into. Do they have a water source? Are there materials on site like dead wood or leaf litter that provide nesting resources for pollinators? Have you considered some non-edible blooms that can be incorporated into your garden? Dive into planting for pollinators and visit our source to learn more.2

a beekeeper looking at his wildflowers that are covered in bees

If you’d like to explore further, linked below is a diagram from Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation which lists some plants you can plant to not only aid the bees in our area, but encourage pollination in your garden and result in some successful yields this year. Happy gardening!

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