View All Posts

Mar 02

How to Make Your Garden Bee Friendly

Posted on March 2, 2016 at 11:03 AM by Ryan Dicks

It's hard to watch the news and not see a story about the loss of honey bees in the United States and around the world.  Bees are threatened by mites, chemicals, pesticides, disease, lack of forage food and now Climate Change. 

Watch to learn how Pierce County beekeepers are being affected.

What You Can Do!

Bee keeping is not for everyone but if you are interested there are classes available.

For the rest of us it is easier to plant a garden that provides bees food.  I asked the President of the local Pierce County Beekeepers, Franclyn Heinicke for some advice.

Here is what she said...

"Hi Ryan - the best resource I have found is the free smart phone app by The Pollinator Partnership -- Bee Smart. Folks can download the free app, put in their zip code, and a whole list of non-invasive plants comes up that will do well in their climate zone.

Some native plants that do really well here for all sorts of pollinators include flowering currant, alder, vine maple, Oregon grape. Crocus is an important early food source for bees. For hummingbirds, plant columbine; bumble bees like rhododendrons and love blueberries.

For folks who like a cottage garden look -- West Coast Seeds in southern BC has a splendid bee garden blend.  

When planting for pollinators: think meadows, not lawns. Folks like me who really like things natural leave dandelions and clover in the lawn. Both are excellent forage plants. (But, we are very secluded, and certainly not in a housing association!)

Blackberry (although an invasive) is the most important pollinator plant on this side of the mountains, both for the amount of nectar and pollen it provides and also the nutritional value of that food for pollinators. Folks are encouraged to keep some and cut it back or control it other than taking it all out."


I hope this expert advice from a bee lover helps you plant a Bee friendly garden this spring. 

Ryan Dicks
Pierce County Sustainability Manager