One of the secondary goals of our Green @ Home garden project is to create an environment attractive to pollinators. There's an undeniable pleasure and satisfaction watching bees and butterflies visiting your garden, industriously feeding on nectar and beautifying the garden just with their colourful presence. But what to plant to invite these winged friends?
We're fairly new at this gardening business, and there's so much to learn. But there are plenty of reference tools out there, including this excellent site specifically catering to those investigating creating a bee-friendly garden, with a list of 50 different varieties of native flowering plants that attract bees. The list also designates which flowers attract which type of bees (large, small, shiny, native, honey bees), and the plant's relative attractiveness, or the average numbers of honey bees versus native bees you can expect to find visiting the plant. Here's a downloadable list, or you can use their Bee-Friendly Garden Builder Tool which makes planting a California native bee friendly garden a whole lot easier.
We've already added several varieties of lavender into our garden, and within seconds, bees arrived, lured by the unmistakable fragrance. The aroma from the different varieties are slightly different, but all extremely pleasant (the bees, butterflies, and hornets agree too). We're hoping to add some thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, catnip and lamb's ear as time goes on (with each paycheck, a few more here and there), hopefully making our garden the most fragrant on the block.