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Bee Aware!
Herbs To Attract Bees To The Garden


By Debs Cook

Since I was very young I've been a fan bees, the number of times that they crop up in my photos of herbs and flowers should be a clue to most people. My given name is Deborah and in Hebrew coincidentally that means bee, that has nothing to do with my love of bees, but it is a very happy coincidence. For a while now I've been concerned about the decline of bees around the world, honey bees and bumble bees alike, but I wasn't sure what I could do about it. One of the obvious things I could do was to increase the number of bee friendly herbs in my garden, so I drew up a list that I thought others could benefit from. All of the herbs in the table below are bee friendly, most attract hoverflies and butterflies as an added bonus and most of them can be used in the kitchen or to make herbal remedies in your own kitchen.

Angelica
Bergamot, Wild
Betony
Borage
Catmint
Chicory
Chives
Clover
Comfrey
Common Poppy
Cornflower
Dahlias
Dill
Echinacea
Evening Primrose
Fennel
Feverfew
Foxglove
Goldenrod
Heartsease
Horehound, White
Hyssop
Lavender

Lemon Balm
Lungwort
Marjoram
Mint
Motherwort
Mullein
Nasturtium
Pot Marigold
Rosemary
Sage
Savory, Summer & Winter
Soapwort
Sunflower
Tansy
Teasel
Thistle
Thyme
Tobacco Plant
Valerian
Viper's Bugloss
Wild clary
Woad
Yarrow


Having drawn up the list, I still felt like I wanted to do more. By coincidence I was pointed in the direction of Plan Bee an initiative being run by the Co-op to educate people about the decline of the honey bee population, showing what you can do to help 'Save The Bees'. Inspired by this I approached the rest of council to suggest we adopted our own campaign in 2010 to highlight the plight of the bees. Giving out more information on ways that herbs can be used to attract bees to our gardens, which herbs to grow and ways of using bee products with herbs. Everyone agreed it was a good idea and our Bee Aware! campaign was born.

In June this year I'll be organising a Herb Society display at our stand at Gardeners World Live showing herbs you can grow for attracting bees into the garden. A large variety of herbs from the list above will feature in the display and I'm hoping to be able to show how bees are helpful in the herb garden and how herbs can be helpful to the bees. If you come along please stop by and say hello. Our journal Herbs will carry a variety of articles on bees starting in the next issue.

As well as additional herbs, I'll be adding some bee houses and nectar stations this year. I've already ear marked some plants that aren't bee friendly in the garden to be replaced with a few from the above list that I don't already grow. Goldenrod and White Horehound are amongst them. I grow a lot of bee friendly herbs and enjoy watching, listening to and photographing the bees as they go about their buzzy business in the garden. As my colleague Gwenneth Raybould said "A world without bees is unimaginable." something I agree with wholeheartedly, please do all you can to save our bees.


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