Planting the Healing Garden: Bring on the Bees!

This image is courtesy of
I haven’t been able to keep up with the regular blog posts lately (hm, same thing happened last spring, I wonder why?), and today is not much of an exception. I’m actually going to direct you to a great article on bumblebees and honeybees on the Fine Gardening website (“Bring the Buzzzzz Back to Your Garden”); it’s got some great information about various kinds of bees and what you can plant in your garden to attract them. And here’s another great website that I stumbled upon while looking for good bee pictures: The Science Museum’s “Bumblebees like it hot.”
As a landscape designer who specializes in restorative gardens, I have the funny experience of some clients wanting gardens that attract bees, and other clients wanting gardens that don’t. After a nasty yellowjacket incident when I was five (involving over 25 of the beasts attacking me after I accidentally stepped on their nest), I’ve struggled to master my stinging-insect phobia. I can relate to people who would be happy if the bees just stayed away. Nevertheless, I like to educate clients about the fact that honeybees and bumblebees rarely sting (something I’ve learned from my own gardening experience – I’ve been stung by many a wasp in my life, but never by a bee), and I also stress the importance of providing food and habitat for our wonderful pollinating friends who’ve been having a bit of a tough time lately (you can read about Colony Collapse Disorder on many websites and blogs, but here’s the Wikipedia article to get you started). Incidentally, beekeeping has really taken off in the past couple of years. A friend in Beacon has a great blog called Beacon Bee, and I’ve been learning a lot from her. There are even urban beekeepers; in france, they call it “concrete honey.”