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The Plants Bees Love

In this day and time, I would hope gardeners understand the importance of bees and other insects in the garden. However, from time to time, a person comes into the nursery and asks for plants that will NOT attract bees (sigh). They are not really gardeners though, they are just looking for a plant to fill a space. I find myself more and more intrigued by bees although I don't know that much about the different types. I do make note of plants that they like and try to add as many as I can to the garden. Over the past weeks, with watering a daily activity amidst a lingering heat-wave, I've conducted an informal survey and noted the plants that they seem to like the most. Butterfly Weed ( Asclepias tuberosa ) Butterfly Weed ( Asclepias tuberosa ) is one of my favorite perennials and the bees love it too. I don't think I've ever seen a butterfly on it but we don't seem to have many of those. Everybody wants the "Showy Milkweed" (Asclepias speciosa) but I knew

Attracting Birds, Butterflies, And Other Backyard Wildlife - A book review

Every day, it seems that there is another dire story in the news about the environment and the future of the planet. Bee populations are in decline and monarch butterflies have decreased by 80% in the past 20 years. Various causes are at play but the most obvious is that natural habitats are being eliminated. It seems that every time I venture out, I see another tract of trees being cut down to build houses so close together that it looks like the future residents would have very little room to grow anything. It is disheartening and alarming especially when no one seems to care, even government officials.

I know that gardeners do care, however, and as bleak as it seems, we press on and the majority of us do what we can to bring wildlife into our gardens. It can be a daunting task, however, and I confess that I am just learning things such as how to attract mason bees to the garden.

Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife by David Mizejewski (a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation), was first published in 2004 has just been reissued in a second edition. This excellent book, illustrated with more than 200 photographs, shows how homeowners can create backyard sanctuaries that will entice a wide variety of wildlife to the garden.


  • Developing a garden design
  • Identifying and understanding the importance of native plants
  • Providing food for wildlife - how to choose the right plants, supplementing with feeders
  • Projects and recipes for feeders and food
  • Creating water features
  • Importance of plants for cover and protection
  • Nesting and housing materials
  • Sustainable gardening practicies (composting, water conservation)
  • How to have your garden certified as a wildlife sanctuary
This updated edition includes information about neonicotinoids, aggressive and invasive species, and new and updated information about gardening practices.

Well illustrated with lists, graphs, drawings and photos, this is a book that is both educational and very inspiring.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


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