We have tried to overwinter bees for the last five years with varying success. Sometimes we can overwinter a few, but most of the time they disappear during the cold months.
Usually, we just order new nucs (small honeybee colonies) from local bee keepers for delivery every spring.
I decorated our hives last year in hopes that the bees would find them more hospitable.
These bees were all buzzing last May. It is frustrating to not overwinter them, but we do feel like we are at least trying to do our part. I do know that when we do have bees, the garden goes NUTS.
I have a few books on pollinator friendly plants, but this book by Frey and LeBuhn is the most informative. Not only does it list bee-friendly plants by regions, but the book also contains descriptions of all the different pollinators from honey bees to mason bees. The book is full of beautiful photographs and will make you want to become a steward for all pollinators. Besides this most worthy goal, bee gardens also do the following:
- contain a gorgeous variety of flowers
- bloom continuously throughout the seasons
- are organic, pesticide-free, and ecologically sustainable
- develop healthy and fertile soil
- attract birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects
- increase the quantity of your fruit and vegetable harvest (I can certainly attest to this one!)
- improve the quality, flavor, and size of your produce
Although we have tried to plant bee-friendly plants (like different varieties of rain trees which bloom in the fall and the spring), I know that I will be going back to this book as an important resource as the garden and flowerbeds take shape this year.
Publisher blurb for The Bee-Friendly Garden:
In The Bee-Friendly Garden, award-winning garden designer Kate Frey and bee expert Gretchen LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a dazzling garden that helps both the threatened honeybee and our own native bees. No matter how small or large your space, and regardless of whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country, just a few simple changes to your garden can fight the effects of colony collapse disorder and the worldwide decline in bee population that threatens our global food chain.
Illustrated with spectacular full-color photos, The Bee-Friendly Garden debunks myths about bees, explains seasonal flower progression, and provides detailed instructions for nest boxes and water features. From “super blooming” flowers to regional plant lists and plants to avoid, The Bee-Friendly Garden is an essential tool for every gardener who cares about the planet and wants to make their yard a welcoming habitat for nature’s most productive pollinator.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions, exclamations, gushing and rants are my own.