I’ve wanted bees in my garden since I moved to Casa del Duckie. They are good for the environment, good for the garden, and a good source of ingredients for other projects. They are also something that will need a lot of care and planning to keep healthy and safe. While I may seem to just jump into things, I really do carefully plan my large projects well. The bees are no different.
There are actually two different projects within the bee project- the bee corral and the bee garden. Because bees need a source of nutrition and water, I need to step up my gardening game and create a bee oasis in my back yard. Which gives me an excuse to plant more exciting things. Here is the master garden plan for the bee corral.
One of the considerations for the bee corral was comfort level. Since I have parties and events at my house somewhat frequently, I wanted to keep visitors separated from the bees as much as possible for safety reasons. So I created a garden space in front of the corral. I drew two quarter circles in the dirt and worked and pulled up all the grass. I decided to add an arch trellis in front of the doorway for two reasons: so I can grow bee-friendly climbers and so that there is even more of a physical separation between the bees and the rest of the yard.
Growing upwards and outwards!
So now that I had a plot, I needed a plan. I usually do not grow annuals, but as most flowers are annuals, I need to step up my game. So I went about ordering seeds from the Internet and checking out the seed selections in my local stores. About $35 later, I think I have everything I want.
The space that I am working in is small, but I plan to pack it with as many flowers as I can.
From the top left, across: Danish Flag Poppy, Royal Carpet Alyssum, Blue Globe Thistle, Zinnia, Bee Balm, and Borage.
I received the danish flag poppy, blue globe thistle, bee balm, and borage from OutsidePride. This is the first time I am ordering from them. The thistle and bee balm are perennials and will go along the gate. The alyssum and borage will be in front of that, then the zinnia and poppies will be mixed together in front of that. Around the border of the bed, I am planning some Snapdragons.
Bees need a constant and close source of water, so I got a bird bath for the garden. Underneath the bath, I’m going to put two types of toad lilies. They love moisture and shade, so I hope they do wonderfully under there.
Toad lilies! Tricyrtis Hirta (top) and Tricyrtic Blue Wonder (bottom).
I also purchased 1/2 lb. of perennial wildflowers to sprinkle in the places that don’t grow. I plan to just throw seed into unoccupied areas in my yard and see what happens.
Pie in the Sky
The original bee garden did not have a trellis in it, but I purchased one a while back for another gardening project. I thought I would use it to grow hops on, but the raised bed I was putting it in did not allow for it. So it sat in my porch storage for a few years until I remembered I had it. I don’t have a lot of space to grow outwards, but I can grow upwards. I selected a few climbing annuals for the base and I am crossing my fingers that they will take to the trellis and fill the arch with bee-friendly blooms all summer.
From the top left, across: Nasturtium Night and Day Mix, Sweet Pea Sweet Dreams Mix, Four O’Clock Kaleidoscope Mix, Morning Glory Carnevale di Venezia Mix, Cardinal Climbers, and Cypress Vines.
The mix of colors and textures will be amazing if they grow how I am envisioning. The morning glory and four o’clock will take turns opening and the cypress vine, which is in the same family, will stay open all day. The sweet pea will add a light scent in the area, and the nasturtium are tasty in salads. Hummingbirds really like cardinal climbers, so maybe I will spot some of them too!