Since the worrying discovery in 2006 of Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious ailment causing entire colonies of honeybees to disappear, there's been a great deal of attention paid to supporting bees and other pollinators. After all, honeybees are responsible for pollinating over 100 commonly eaten fruit and vegetable crops—so we'd do well to be kind to these furry little helpers. Without bees our food system would be in serious trouble. Luckily, apart from taking up beekeeping (which isn't as hard as it sounds either!), one of the best things we can do is also one of the easiest—plant flowers.
The list of flowers that are 'best' for bees varies depending on where you look, and honestly it's probably best not to get too hung up on the 'top' species. After all—bees need variety in their diet as much as we do, and they need to eat throughout the year. So here's a list of plants that my bees seem to like. It's by no means exhaustive, so feel free to add your own in the comments:
Honey Bee Friendly Garden Plants
- Bee Balm
- Lamb's Ears
Honey Bee Friendly Native and Wild Plants
- Black-Eyed Susan
- Tulip poplar
For those wanting to know more, The College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley has put together a more comprehensive list of plants for urban bee gardens. And let's not forget that growing and eating organic is likely to help bees too—insecticides and insects don't tend to get along too well.