This free bee plant list for gardens and farms has been developed by Earthwise Garden, an ecological demonstration garden located in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, Canada with over 300 varieties of low-maintenance plantings, grown without the use of chemicals. It is a companion to the Earthwise Farm, a two-acre organic teaching farm, operated by the non-profit Earthwise Society.
The diversity of plant material and the absence of any pesticides, has contributed to an abundance of beneficial organisms, pollinators and birds, that play an important role in maintaining the health and productivity of the organic farm.
Diversity of plantings at the Earthwise Garden provide excellent pollinator habitat.
For the past year, Earthwise Society staff have been monitoring the presence of bees on perennials at the one-acre Earthwise Garden. Observations were made weekly from mid-May until mid-September 2011, and periodically thereafter (depending on the weather) to prepare the bee plant list for gardens and farms.
The Earthwise Farm hosts two honeybee hives, and there is an additional hive on an adjacent property. There are also mason bee houses on site. The presence of many pollinators close by present exceptional opportunities to study and record food preferences.
The purpose of the study was to comprise an easy-to-use resource list for local gardeners or farmers based on observations of which perennials attracted the most pollinators. The study clearly showed bees’ preference for specific species, and even cultivars.
To encourage the planting of bee-friendly plants for home gardens or farms, it is important to select easy care, reliable plants. The recommended plants are reliably perennial and if properly sited, will perform well with minimal maintenance.
The list includes recommended native plants, as well as other effective pollinator plants to maximize participation by gardeners. The non-native species recommended are non-invasive and perform well locally.
A critical requirement for bee habitat is a continuous source of pollen and nectar throughout the growing season. The following bee plant list for gardens and farms are based upon observations at the Earthwise Garden, organized by season of bloom, with notes regarding garden uses and site requirements for optimal garden performance.
Recommended plants are available at local nurseries or may be purchased directly from Earthwise Society. Earthwise plants are grown without pesticides and taken from divisions from the Earthwise Garden. The Earthwise Nursery is a social enterprise that provides revenue for educational programs and the Feed the Bees Community Campaign.
Organic crops at the Earthwise Farm benefit from bee-friendly plantings.
We hope you enjoy your free bee plant list for gardens and farms !!