A big sprawling grassy lawn might look beautiful, but have you thought about what impact a fully-grassed property might have on the surrounding environment?
I ask this question without judgment. Until I got involved with Tees for Bees, I didn't know or think about this myself.
I thought if you have a beautiful lawn, some flowers, and perhaps a veggie garden, you were doing your bit for nature. I never thought about selecting plants or designing a garden to fit my surrounding environment, including birds and insects.
And I don't think I am alone. I think many people have the best intentions when designing their gardens.
But we need to start designing our backyards with more thought for the surrounding environment. Luckily, it's pretty easy to achieve.
We chatted with Shelly Candel, director of Bee City Canada, to find out how we can help the bees in our own backyards? Shelly gave us five easy things you can do to make your garden bee-friendly. And this doesn't just help bees, but all pollinators.
1 - Plant plenty of nectar and pollen-rich flowers without pesticides
It turns out that a majority of people are misusing pesticides with disastrous consequences for the surrounding environment.
Pesticides may kill what you don't like or want, but they also kill what we need to keep our soil and plants healthy.
Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy humans.
2 - Grow native plants, trees, and flowers
The simplest way to create a sustainable eco-system in your garden for pollinators is by growing native plants, trees, and flowers.
Birds, insects, and other animals in your area have evolved to live off local plant species. If you're not growing native plants, these species have fewer means to survive.
Most pollinators don't travel more than a few hundred yards from their nests. So, if you and your neighbors don't grow enough native plants, these insects are forced to leave the area. With them go the birds and other animals.
Ever wondered why you rarely see any wildlife in your backyard?
3 - Include a variety of flowers of different shapes and sizes
When planning your garden, it's essential to choose a variety of flowers with continuous blooms and diverse species. Bunches of five to nine flower species is recommended for the many types of pollinators in your area.
4 - Grow vegetables in your garden
Did you know fruit and vegetables also need pollination?
To create a diverse eco-system in your backyard, consider starting a veggie garden. Growing your own food not only helps pollinators but ensures you're getting healthy fruit and vegetables.
5 - Bee a little messy! 😉
Your garden doesn't have to be perfectly manicured. In fact, it's best to keep some of your backyard as natural as possible, and maybe a little overgrown.
Bee City Canada recommends keeping at least 10% of your garden undisturbed, unmulched and unwatered.
Most bees nest in the underground and in cavities. They need plant stems uncut, twigs and brush in small piles, and bare patches of ground.
If you create a garden for insects to thrive, then you'll soon discover more birds and other animals will visit your backyard. The benefit for you nature lovers
Getting to observe Mother Nature work her magic in your own backyard.
We are all connected in this beautiful universe, and if you take care of nature, nature will take care of you. Embrace its wildness and unruliness, and it will reward you with its healing.