Herbs, Honeybees, and You: Win, Win, Win!

Yummy news! You can enjoy fresh herbs in your meals and help rescue the world’s dwindling honeybee population! That’s right: YOU.

To get things humming, all it takes is a small garden or even a few pots on your city balcony.

Honeybees, Bumblebees, and Hummingbirds Feast on Herbs

Herb gardens are a haven for pollinators, says Deb Soule, owner of Avena Botanicals in West Rockport, Maine. “In September, our sacred basil is literally covered with bees—their pollen sacs are a beautiful pink-orange, the color of the pollen of sacred basil.”

Kathleen Holloran writing for Mother Earth Living agrees. “Flowering herbs are irresistible lures to pollinators.” Bees apparently enjoy the same fragrances we do — thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage, basil, oregano, parsley, mint, coriander, and marjoram. And don’t forget anise hyssop, Holloran says. “Bees may pass up every other plant in the garden when this is blooming.”

More tasty news! You can grow herbs in small spaces!

Writing for “Planting Herbs That Attract Honey Bees,” Ann Barczewski emphasizes,“You may not have a large plot of land for an herb garden but most people can tuck a few herbs in somewhere, even if they only have a postage stamp yard, balcony, hanging basket or doorstep. Container gardening can be just as rewarding and help your local bees.”

Show Me What You’ve Got!

Pinterest inspires with scores of boards devoted to “Square Food Gardening.”  For example, Daniela Alliegro Azzi demonstrates a range of ideas for growing herbs in tiny places.

For a list of culinary, ornamental, and apothecary herbs favored by honeybees, check out Home Guides’ The Best Herbs to Grow for Attracting Honey Bees and a similar detailed blog post from Buzz About Bees.

Finally, for more bee-friendly gardening tips, check out the Honeybee Conservancy’s page devoted to the work and art of gardening.

Coming soon: Grow Me A Garden, Honeybee! We’ll have more how-to details on setting up a small honeybee-loving garden in your own tiny space.