A healthy and vibrant garden is your goal. One way to achieve it is by planting flower and herb mixes that not only beautify your garden but also support a healthy ecosystem.
Intentionally sprinkling plantings of bee nectary plants and a mix of flowers and herbs will create a thriving habitat for bees, other pollinators, and host of beneficial bugs. And a healthier ecosystem means more FREE ecosystem garden services for you! A worthFUL Valentine's Day gift for you AND your garden!
The Importance of Bees
We gardeners know bees play a crucial role in our gardens. We absolutely RELY on them for the reproduction of many flowering plants and the production of fruits and vegetables. By planting a bee nectary mix, you can attract and support a diverse range of bee species in your garden.
Bees rely on nectar and pollen as their primary food source. Providing them with a variety of flowers, including herbs, with staggered bloom times ensures an abundant, balanced diet throughout the growing season, attracting them into the garden and promoting their overall health.
Choosing a Bee Nectary Mix
When selecting a bee nectary mix, opt for a variety of flowers and herbs that bloom at different times throughout the season. This will ensure a continuous supply of nectar and pollen for the bees.
Horninum sage, Lemon bergamot, Starflower borage, Balcony Mix petunia
Some excellent choices for a bee nectary mix include Mexican sunflowers, coneflowers, petunia, bergamot, borage, flowering sage, buckwheat, and herbs like lemon balm, oregano, and sage. These flowers and herbs not only provide abundant nectar but also have attractive blooms and aromatic foliage that will enhance the visual appeal and fragrance of your garden.
Creating Habitat for Beneficial Bugs
In addition to bees, there are many other beneficial bugs that play a vital role in maintaining a healthy garden ecosystem. Ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps and hoverflies are just a few examples of beneficial insects that help control pests by feeding on aphids, mites, and other harmful insects.
Lacewing, ladybug, parasitic wasp, hoverfly
By planting a mix of flowers and herbs that provide habitat for these beneficial bugs. You can naturally reduce the need for the use of traditional toxic pest control products in your garden.
Interspersing flowers and herb among your vegetable crops will ensure these beneficial bugs are close at hand should harmful pests decide to invade your garden and attack. The more beneficial bugs you encourage, the more protective services they'll be able to provide to reduce damage from harmful pests.
Selecting Flowers and Herbs for Beneficial Bugs
When choosing flowers and herbs to attract beneficial bugs, consider those with small, clustered flowers that provide landing platforms and shelter. Some great options include Mexican sunflower, bachelor buttons, echinacea, zinnia, cosmos, and marigold, and herbs like cilantro, dill, fennel, oregano, and basil.
Bachelor buttons, Mexican sunflower, dill flowers, oregano flowering
These flowers and herbs not only attract beneficial bugs but also add color, texture, and culinary value to your garden. By planting a mix of these flowers and herbs, you can create a sprawling welcome mat for these helpful insects and pollinators.
Staggered Bloom Times
To ensure a continuous supply of nectar and pollen for both bees and beneficial bugs, it's important to select flowers and herbs with staggered bloom times. By planting a mix of early, mid, and late-season bloomers, you can provide a consistent food source throughout the growing season. This will not only support the health and well-being of these pollinators but also create a visually stunning garden that evolves and changes over time.
Garden Design Tips
When incorporating flower and herb mixes into your garden, consider the overall design and layout. Grouping flowers and herbs of the same type together can create a visually impactful display. But remember your intentions-- interspersing different flower and herb varieties not only adds depth and interest-- it will help ensure that the beneficial bugs are interspersed throughout your garden.
Additionally, consider the sunlight and soil requirements of your flowers and herbs to ensure they are compatible with the conditions in your garden. Also take into account the height of the crops they'll be next to as the season progresses-- especially when they go into their blooming cycle.
Planting flower and herb mixes that focus on a bee nectary mix and a mix of flowers for beneficial bugs is a wonderful way to improve the health and vitality of your garden. By providing a diverse range of flowers and herbs with staggered bloom times, you can attract and support a variety of pollinators and beneficial insects.
Not only will you support pollinators, bees and beneficial bugs-- but your garden will thrive as you help create a more balanced ecosystem with a full suite of supportive services. And you get flowers besides! Life is better in the garden!
From our gardens to yours!
Your garden coach,
PS. One more thing-- IF you have the space, providing an unmowed wildflower plot near the garden will also help serve as a "trap crop" for pests and habitat for beneficial insects. Less mowing + more helpers! Another win-win in terms of ecosystem services! And who doesn't like free help?! 🙌🏻