Creating a Small Bee Garden...

Creating The Perfect Small Bee Garden: Hanging Baskets Provide Plenty of Options

Christy Ericsson (Guest Blogger)

Bee populations are rapidly declining as chemicals, parasites, and environmental changes make it difficult for them to thrive. Essentially, bees play an important role in pollinating not only the flowers that we enjoy, but a substantial number of the fruits and vegetables we eat in our homes. For that reason, individuals are looking for ways to support these insects in their quest to survive and for those with a minimal amount of space to use, hanging baskets can be an easy way to make an impact.

Hanging baskets can be great for attracting bees

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, (RSPB) explains that hanging baskets are ideal for small spaces and with a bit of planning they can be gorgeous additions to a small courtyard, garden, or patio. There are plenty of options you can use in a bee-friendly hanging basket, and these can be a great way for beginning gardeners to help the bees while starting small.

One thing to keep in mind is that many popular pollinator-friendly flowers are too high to be used in a hanging basket, and you want to carefully choose plants that suit the size of the basket you're using. However, you can look for plants that will cascade over the edges of the basket, as those produce a beautiful look. Aim to use flowers native to your area and focus on plants with single blooms that are colorful, especially those that are purple, yellow, blue, and white.

Consider the basket location and make watering properly a priority.

Try to choose a spot that is sunny, but not exposed to extreme heat or high winds, suggests
SF Gate. Hanging baskets do need to be watered regularly, usually four to five times a week, as the soil tends to dry out fairly quickly. During the hottest summer days (and not the fall if you are in California), you may find that you sometimes need to water them twice a day. However, you don't want to overwater your bee garden baskets, or you risk killing your flowers.

Water the basket when the soil on top is dry to the touch and add water until you see it coming out of the drainage holes on the bottom. The Garden Glove explains that hanging baskets require more water than typical container plants and you want to keep the soil moist or you can permanently damage the root systems.

Plenty of plants work well in a hanging basket bee garden

Gardeners World suggests using lawn moss and conifer branches to line your bee-friendly hanging basket, and trailing lobelias or single bloom fuchsias are great picks to incorporate. Flowers like diascias, bidens, single-flowered marigolds, nasturtiums, sweet alyssum, and bacopa often do well in this type of setting too.

Feel free to experiment and get creative, as hanging baskets provide the opportunity to put together a variety of mixes and looks. When you can, incorporate several different types of flowers with different textures and colors, and possibly even different bloom times, to give your bees plenty of variety. If you are looking to branch out beyond simply flowers, try planting herbs, strawberries, or tomatoes in hanging baskets too.

One simple way to help the bees is to create hanging baskets geared toward attracting these insects. Look for bee-friendly plants that suit the size of your chosen basket and incorporate plenty of single-bloom plants native to your area. These baskets do not necessarily take a great deal of skill or work, other than frequent watering, so they are great for beginning gardeners. At the same time, they are helpful to the bees and add some added flair to your home.

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