We all know the importance of honey bees to our gardens and the world. We also know that herbs have countless culinary and medicinal uses. Did you know herbs can also be grown to attract the three B’s to your garden: Beneficial Insects, Butterflies and Bees?
I put together a package of 6 specific herbs that will easily fill a 100 square feet. Plant a large area or several small areas and leave them to flower and reseed year after year. Just water them in for 10 days and forget them. Sure you can sneak in and collect a few leaves for yourself but these herbs are for the three B’s.
Cilantro or Coriander is one of the best herbs for beneficial insects. The fragrant white flowers are a favorite of some of the smallest pollinators around. The flowers grow in a manner that makes their 'food' easily accessible to bees, beneficial insects and butterflies. It is an annual that can take the cold and heavily reseeds.
Borage has bright blue star shaped flowers that are magnets for bees and other pollinators. They are full of nectar that the bees love and the flowers tend to bloom all season long. Borage is known as a honey plant and it is grown by many beekeepers near their apiaries. Even hummingbirds love it.
Anise is another herb the produces masses of small white flowers and bees love them. Anise oil is used to attract bees. The fragrance has been proven to be a highly attractive scent for drawing in pollinators.
Fennel is a preferred food source for butterflies. It is a delicacy for the Swallowtail. They will use the plant to host its eggs and you will see the life cycle of the butterfly. That is, you will see a lot of wildly colored caterpillars. Honey bees are also attracted to fennel and love their tiny yellow flowers. It has a wonderful anise licorice taste to its leaves and bulb. It is an annual in zones 3-9. It will reseed heavily.
Dill is very similar to fennel. It has white flowers that are loved by the 3 B’s. Dill and fennel have similar leaf structures which are favored by developing caterpillars that will turn into butterflies. Predatory insects like ladybugs are drawn to the flowers and leaf structure of both dill and fennel. The gift of ladybugs is that they will take care of aphids in your garden. Dill is also a big favorite of hoverflies. Dill is an annual that will reseed heavily.
Hyssop produces masses of dark blue flowers on spires that bloom July through September. You can cut back spent flowers for more blooms. This is a favorite of bees. You will see bees crawling up and down the spike of beautifully colored flowers. The leaves have a mint licorice scent and it is a perennial in Zones 4-8.
The combination of these 6 herbs, planted in the corner of your garden, will bring in an army of beneficial predatory insects, honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds. The combined scents of the flowers and leaves will serve your garden well. Growing these herbs will provide a food source for honey bees, a home to the Swallowtail Caterpillars and a haven for all the good insects your gardens need. Hyssop is a perennial but will also seed heavily like the other five herbs. Your 3 B's garden will take care of itself year after year.
You can pick these herbs up as you find them in your travels or purchase them from me as a package that can be scattered throughout your garden. The seeds are quite distinctive and you can easily pick them out for you own personal needs too! The seed picture above holds the measure of seeds that come in the package which is approximately 1/2 ounce.
You can find this item and many more on my new Seed Shop and Garden Shop on Shopify at this link: The Rusted Garden Seed Shop.
A mix of Cilantro, Dill, Anise, Borage, Fennel, an Hyssop. Approximately 1/2 ounce of herb seeds. No fillers!
Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)
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