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Creating a Bee Habitat Garden – Suggestions and Ideas

We are starting to build our new garden area to replace a huge portion of our backyard lawn area. It has been a dream of mine to take the water-hungry lawn out and replace it with color and attractive plants for birds, bees, and butterflies. My husband and I finally agreed on a plan and we started a week or so ago to build the first two garden boxes from recycled blocks that came out of our frontyard remodel last fall. We are on a limited budget for this project so we are reusing materials we have on hand and it is going to be a long range plan to add more as we have time and money. We did end up purchasing and hauling in a yard of garden soil that we added some of our homemade compost to so we could fill up our boxes. We didn’t use the complete yard of soil in the boxes but used the balance to top off our vegetable garden boxes and fill two pots for patio tomatoes.

4 18 11 New Lavender
Here is the first square which will anchor the whole project. We found some lavender on sale at Home Depot and we added four plants…..bees no extra charge. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there are bees on these blossoms every day, at all times of the day.

4 11 Dandelions
We also have loads of bees in the dandelions over on the other end of the yard. I counted quite a number of bees in the yellow blossoms as I sat and enjoyed their cheerfulness one afternoon. My husband is not convinced to keep the dandelions and wants to pull them up. I asked him to wait a bit and then he can mow them over.

4 11 New Boxes with Lawn
Mr. B is my garden helper these days and we enjoy spending time outdoors together.

The larger box is going to hold my sunflowers and zinnias. I am including the Lemon Sunflowers in this box as part of the Great Sunflower Project. I was reading on their website about their change this year and they have added quite a number of other flowers to the project so you can count bees in your area.

If you want to check it out, click over and read on their website but it looks like you can count bees on include Bee balm, Cosmos, Rosemary, Tickseed, and Purple coneflower.

The two brown piles of leaf compost that you can see in the image above are going to become part of another bee garden that we may get to this year. The link will take you to Renee’s Garden where she has collaborated with the Great Sunflower Project on a list of bee attractive plants for your garden.

The only other part we are planning on planting this spring is the Three Sisters Garden that will be a long row parallel to the sidewalk just behind where my son is working in the image above. The Three Sisters are pumpkins, corn, and beans that you plant as companions. I am excited just thinking about this part of the garden!!!

I am anxious to add in a few things as we have time and the weather warms up. My husband keeps telling me he doesn’t see my vision for the yard but I told him to have faith and see what evolves. At the bottom of the post are the seeds that I am planting in the new larger box if you are interested.

That is what we accomplished this week in our new garden project but here are a few of our on-going bee/butterfly/hummingbird habitat garden projects that are a work in progress.

4 18 11 Butterfly Garden with notes
We have been working on this section of the garden for a few years now and it is filling in and growing more beautiful with each passing season.

4 18 11 New Moonshine Yarrow
In our front yard we added some Moonshine Yarrow….this has become another favorite of the bees this spring. I am anxious to see how it grows over the summer since it says it needs very little water.

New Yard Art - Metal Butterfly and Rocks

I have to share my new yard art piece that my dear husband found for me. It is a metal butterfly balanced on top of a pole with river rocks stacked. It is the perfect piece for our front yard. I love the way it moves in the slightest breeze and is a great addition to the look of the front yard. I decided it is all about movement…the grasses, the forsythia, the butterfly bushes, and now the sculpture.

I have enjoyed reading all the entries over on Jami’s blog An Oregon Cottage as part of her Tuesday Garden Party. Welcome to all who have clicked over to read my entry!
I welcome all readers to subscribe to my blog…see the sidebar for a place to enter your email.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

16 thoughts on “Creating a Bee Habitat Garden – Suggestions and Ideas

  1. I am fascinated with the idea of a bee garden! That sounds like just the thing to add to our plans this year.

    Your gardens are looking lovely – thanks for sharing!

  2. your garden is creative and inspiring, barb! i love the idea of a bee garden. maybe we can think of doing that out by my mom. people in the city get too freaked out by bees. we are going to plant our wildflower garden again this year. much earlier, so they can grow tall.

  3. I had never thought of a bee garden. That would greatly benefit our veggie garden wouldn’t it? Thank you for coming over to visit my blog. I have read your blog for years now after someone on the Ambleside list suggested it.


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  5. I’m curious to see how your lavender does for you. Mine took off like crazy and soon became ginormous! That seems like it would be a good thing, but then when the fall came around, it lost all of the greenery and became this ugly spikey ball. My neighbors were not happy with it! So last summer I moved it to the backyard, where it grew even bigger and looked even uglier during the fall and winter. I found it to be downright depressing and pulled all of the plants up this spring. I never looked into pruning it, but am thinking I probably should have been doing something different, maybe prune back all of the sticks/spikes in the fall? I don’t know… have you grown lavender before? If so, did you have this happen to yours. I know lavender is known to grow well around here, so we may be unusual with how large the plants grew.

  6. Great idea for a garden- when we moved into our house, the backyard was not landscaped at all, so we went 100% grass free in the backyard, and filled it with raised beds. One of my favorite plants is lavendar, and I have a nice patch that is always filled with bees, they love it. They also love my rosemary & thyme. Good luck with your garden!

  7. Maureen,

    We have three varieties of lavender in our yard….it is a staple of the streetside garden and we must have the right growing conditions for it. My favorite kind is the English lavender and it does get a little gray in the winter but it is already greening up for the season. The Spanish lavender does get a little spiky and I cut it way back and it seems to come back just fine each spring. I love it and so do the bees. I like it better than the rosemary but my new favorite purple plant is the California lilac. Thanks for stopping by my blog and I will post our lavender progress as it grows.

  8. What a great idea. I’m torn between wanting something just like it and thinking about all the screaming and running that would take place in our garden with preschoolers. 🙂

  9. I’m so glad your bee habitat garden includes native plants. I grow (& love) lavender & rosemary, but my focus is on California natives. I understand that the natives sustain a greater variety of bee species. And bees need all the help they can get. My native plants attract not only different kinds of bees, they’re also incredible ladybug magnets. I have tons of ladybugs and ladybug larvae all over my plants this year.

  10. We have lots of native plants in the front yard….we have an oak, CA poppies, two different sages, columbine, California lilac (ceanothus), red bud, a dogwood, and blackberries (probably not native but the bees love them).

    We are going for lots of color in the backyard where we will concentrate our water use to grow veggies and colorful flowers…which is what I shared in this post.

  11. I just love it!
    I knew you would come up with something grand for that space!

    Im enjoying catching up with your blog:)

  12. Love this…it is so beautiful! My husband wants to have honey bees and harvest our own honey…..

  13. Rebecca,

    I looked into beekeeping and started reading a few blogs of families that are doing it already. It looks like a lot of responsibility and there is so much maintenance. I decided that I would support my local farmers market and purchase local honey instead. 🙂

  14. It is looking great! I need to add more plants that will bring bees into my yard. Thanks for the link to the sunflower project 🙂

  15. Some of these plants are my favorite- I love it when all the bees are on them! Oh and the mason bees swarm the California lilac I have in the summer, making the plant hum. 🙂

    Love seeing your new garden area come into shape!

    -Jami @ An Oregon Cottage

  16. Wonderful! Native pollinators need a lot of support, and gardens like yours are wonderful (and beautiful) ways to provide it. I can’t wait to see it grow, and I hope that the flowers we planted in our own new garden beds will attract our native bees as well as butterflies, hummingbirds, and songbirds. Kathy @

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