Did you know Alberta is home to 320 bee species? These bees pollinate gardens, crops, and natural areas, turning flowers into food for humans, animals, and insects alike. Evidence suggests native bee abundance and diversity is declining in Alberta. With National Honey Bee Day on August 21st , we’re excited to share the latest buzz at Chappelle Gardens! To help the plight of bees and other pollinators, we are landscaping a Chappelle Gardens pollinator greenway that has been designed with specific plant material such as blue flax, blanket flowers, and cane flowers to attract pollinators.
From apples and squash to almonds and coffee, bees are responsible for pollinating most of the fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts that are essential to diets – not just humans but animals as well. In nature, various animals depend on bees for their survival because their food sources – nuts, berries, seeds, and fruits – rely on insect pollination. Pollination also allows floral growth which provides habitats for animals, including other insects and birds. Honeybees in particular play a huge role with their value to pollination of crops estimated at over $2 billion annually.
One of the largest threats to bees is a lack of safe space where they can build homes and find a variety of nutritious food sources. By planting a bee friendly garden, you can create a habitat corridor with plants that are rich in pollen and nectar. Creating a pollinator habitat or garden is easy! You don’t need a ton of space to grow bee-friendly plants – gardens can be established across yards or in window boxes, flower pots, and planters. It’s important that pesticides and insecticides do not get sprayed on the garden, particularly on the flowers.
Be sure to provide a water source for both the bees and the flowers. Hang a dripping bottle or place a small container of water out in the open. If you have water sitting out, be sure to change it two to three times per week when the weather is warm so as not to attract mosquitos. Another option is to install a bird bath with some stones in it for bees to crawl on. Not only are you helping the environment, but you have a nice water feature for yourself.
Bees are unable to see the colour red. Consequently, they tend to be attracted to blue, purple, yellow, or white flowers. Native plants tend to be the ideal choice as they require less maintenance and tend to be heartier. Research which varieties of milkweed and wildflowers are native to your area and will thrive in your soil and sunlight conditions. Pollinators need nectar early in the spring, throughout the summer, and even into the fall. Choosing plants that bloom at different times will help you create a bright and colourful garden that both you and pollinators will love for months. Some bee friendly plant options include:
Herbs are another great plant to include in your bee garden. Extra bonus? You’ll have fresh herbs to use when cooking. Some great inclusions are:
Over time, the pollinator greenway at Chappelle Gardens will become a bio-diverse habitat perfect for bees, butterflies, birds, and more.Brookfield Residential is proudly committed to creating sustainable, earth-friendly communities. Learn more about the sustainable communities we build in Edmonton today!