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Gardening for Bees

Updated: 3 days ago

Let's Create a Bee-friendly Herb Garden and Get Buzzing

Bees are the unsung heroes of the gardening world. These tiny, fuzzy creatures flying from flower to flower silently perform a vital service – pollination. This seemingly simple act of transferring pollen from one flower to another ensures the reproduction of countless plants, from the vibrant blooms gracing our gardens to the fruits and vegetables that fill our plates.

Without bees and other pollinators, our gardens and ecosystems would face a significant challenge. Many plants we rely on for food wouldn't produce fruits or seeds, leading to a ripple effect throughout the food chain. But the good news is everyone can play a part in supporting these vital creatures.

One of the most effective ways to attract bees and do your part for the environment is by transforming your garden into a haven for these busy pollinators. While the concept of "gardening for bees" might sound complex, it doesn't require a complete overhaul of your existing space. Whether you have a garden or a compact balcony, you can take simple and rewarding steps to create a bee-friendly environment.

May is the perfect time to get started with gardening for bees. With a wealth of bee-loving herbs bursting into bloom, you can transform your garden into a haven for these vital creatures. Here, we'll explore some fantastic options to add a touch of fragrant colour to your space, while simultaneously providing a bountiful feast for our beloved bees.

Herb Gardening for Bees. Jump to:

1. 10 Herbs to Create a Pollinator-Friendly Garden.

From the classic culinary favourites to some unexpected delights, these herbs below will transform your garden into a bee buffet, ensuring a thriving ecosystem and a continuous hum of happy bees.

  • Lavender

Lavender isn't just a sight to behold; it's a lifeline for bees in search of nourishment. Its fragrant purple blooms are irresistible to pollinators, offering nectar rich in sugars – a valuable energy source for busy bees. Lavender thrives in sunny spots with well-drained soil, mimicking the conditions of its native Mediterranean environment.

Planting lavender in borders, containers or even creating a dedicated lavender hedge not only benefits bees, but adds a touch of quintessential English cottage garden charm to your space. Throughout the summer, you'll be rewarded with gorgeous blooms, the delightful hum of happy bees, and the intoxicating aroma of lavender wafting on the summer breeze.

For an extra touch of gardening for bees, consider leaving some of the lavender flowers to go to seed. The resulting seed heads, while not as visually striking as the full blooms, become a valuable food source for bees later in the season. This extended food supply ensures bees have the energy they need to survive and thrive throughout the year.

  • Chives

These cheerful little bulbs pack a punch beyond their vibrant purple flowers. Not only are the blooms visually irresistible to bees, but chives also boast a unique advantage – they bloom repeatedly throughout the season. This means a constant supply of nectar-rich florets for our busy pollinators, ensuring a steady stream of happy visitors to your garden.

The beauty of chives lies in their easy-going nature. Unlike some plants that require specific soil conditions, chives are incredibly adaptable. They thrive in a range of soil types, from sandy to loamy, and tolerate partial shade as well as full sun. This makes them perfect for beginner gardeners or those with limited space. Whether you plant them in a dedicated herb bed, a sunny window box, or even tucked in amongst your existing flowers, chives will flourish and provide a continuous feast for bees.

  • Thyme

With its tiny pink or white flowers carpeting the low-growing foliage, thyme provides a continuous feast for pollinators throughout the summer. Thyme's blooms persist for weeks, ensuring a reliable source of nectar for busy bees. The flowers are small and easy for bees to access, allowing them to efficiently collect pollen and nectar.

Planting thyme in your garden is not only beneficial for bees, but it's also very easy. This low-maintenance herb thrives in sunny spots with well-drained soil. You can plant thyme in borders, edging paths, or even create a dedicated thyme walkway – the fragrant aroma released underfoot as you brush past is an added sensory delight.

Thyme is also a fantastic container plant, perfectly suited for patios, balconies, or even window boxes. So, no matter the size of your garden, you can create a bee-friendly haven with the help of this versatile and rewarding herb.

  • Hyssop Common

Hyssop, with its slender spikes of lavender or blue flowers, is a fragrant favourite not just for humans but for bees as well. These tiny blooms are packed with nectar, providing a sweet reward for pollinators throughout the summer months. This versatile herb is another low-maintenance wonder. Hyssop thrives in well-drained soil and a sunny spot, tolerating some drought conditions once established.

It can be planted in borders, containers, or even used as a low-growing hedge. The fragrant foliage can be enjoyed throughout the season, and the dried flowers can be used for culinary or medicinal purposes.

  • Chicory

Chicory isn't just a source of delicious salad leaves; it's a bee buffet waiting to happen. This vibrant blue-flowered plant is a magnet for pollinators, offering a generous supply of pollen and nectar. The flowers bloom continuously throughout the summer to autumn ensuring a reliable food source for bees. Chicory is a surprisingly adaptable plant. It thrives in full sun but tolerates partial shade as well. While it prefers well-drained soil, it can handle slightly heavier conditions too.

This makes it a great choice for gardeners with less-than-ideal soil conditions. Chicory can be grown in borders, containers, or even allowed to self-seed in wildflower areas. Beyond its bee-friendly nature, chicory offers a double harvest. Enjoy the crisp leaves in salads, or allow the roots to mature and roast them for a delicious coffee substitute.

  • Nasturtium

For a vibrant pop of colour that bees adore, look no further than the cheerful nasturtium. These climbing plants boast large, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and red. The blooms are packed with nectar. Nasturtiums are another easy-care option, thriving in well-drained soil and full sun. They can be grown up trellises, allowed to scramble along fences, or even cascade from hanging baskets, adding a vertical dimension to your bee-friendly haven.

The beauty of nasturtiums extends beyond their bee-attracting qualities. Both the flowers and leaves are edible, adding a peppery kick to salads or sandwiches. Nasturtiums are also known for their companion planting benefits. While these vibrant climbers don't directly repel pests, they attract hoverflies, natural predators of aphids, creating a balanced ecosystem in your garden.

  • Rosemary

With its woody stems and fragrant needle-like leaves, rosemary produces small blue flowers throughout the spring and summer. These blooms are a magnet for bees, offering a delicious nectar reward. This sun-loving herb that thrives in well-drained soil can be grown in borders, containers, or even trained into a low hedge. The fragrant foliage can be enjoyed throughout the season, adding a touch of Mediterranean flair to your cooking. Rosemary is a slow-growing perennial, so plant it once and enjoy its bee-attracting benefits for years to come.

  • Compact Marjoram

Compact marjoram shouldn't be overlooked in the quest for a buzzing bee paradise. This charming herb packs a powerful punch when it comes to attracting pollinators. Throughout the summer, its delicate white or pink flowers bloom in abundance, offering a continuous supply of nectar for busy bees.

The beauty of compact marjoram lies in its name – its low-growing, bushy habit makes it a perfect fit for smaller gardens or container plantings. Imagine a sunny window box overflowing with fragrant marjoram, attracting a happy hum of bees while offering you a fresh source of herbs for your culinary creations. Compact marjoram thrives in well-drained soil and a sunny spot, requiring minimal maintenance to flourish.

  • Sage

Throughout the late spring and summer months, depending on the variety you choose, sage boasts beautiful whorls of purple, pink, or white flowers. These blooms are a magnet for pollinators, offering a generous supply of nectar and pollen.

Sage is a sun-loving perennial that thrives in well-drained soil. It can be planted in borders, containers, or even used as a low-growing hedge.

The beauty of sage lies in its variety. Common sage offers blooms in late spring to early summer, while clary sage extends the floral display to August. This staggered blooming period ensures a continuous food source for bees throughout the summer months. Additionally, sage is a low-maintenance herb, requiring minimal pruning and watering once established.

  • Lovage

This majestic herb boasts large, bright green, divided leaves and towering flowerheads that bloom from June to August. The sheer size of the flowerheads provides ample landing space for bees, making it a particularly bee-friendly option. Lovage is a sun-loving perennial that thrives in well-drained soil with moderate moisture. While it can grow quite tall, reaching up to six feet or more, it can be easily controlled through pruning.

Lovage is a fantastic choice for the back of a border, adding a touch of vertical interest and architectural drama to your garden. Beyond its bee-attracting qualities, lovage offers a surprising culinary bonus. The young leaves have a strong celery-like flavour and can be used in soups, stews or even enjoyed fresh in salads.

2. Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Garden Beyond Planting.

Attracting bees with gardening for bees goes beyond just the herbs you choose. Here are some additional tips to create a welcoming environment:

  • Provide a water source. A shallow dish filled with clean water will be a welcome refreshment for thirsty bees.

  • Limit pesticides. Opt for natural pest control methods to keep your garden bee-safe.

  • Let some flowers go to seed. This provides essential food sources for bees once the blooms have faded.

3. Gardening for Bees. Conclusion.

There's no better time to start a bee-friendly garden than May.

By incorporating these 10 pollinator-attracting herbs and following these simple tips for gardening for bees, you can create a vibrant, buzzing haven in your garden. Not only will you be helping these vital pollinators thrive, but you'll also be rewarded with stunning blooms, fragrant foliage, and the delightful sense of contributing to a healthy ecosystem. So, get planting, and let's make your May garden a haven for happy bees.

Gardening for Bees with Pepperpot Herbs Nursery

Are you ready to create your own bee haven and enjoy the delightful buzz of happy pollinators? Look no further than Pepperpot Herbs Nursery. We offer a vibrant selection of all the bee-friendly herbs mentioned above, from fragrant lavender and cheerful chives to the architectural wonder of lovage.

Visit us today at and browse our selection to find the perfect bee-friendly herbs for your garden.

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