21 September . 2017
How to landscape for bees and other pollinators – and make your yard more beautiful along the way
From acres of wildflowers to flowering Texas Madrone trees, the native Hill Country plants growing in Sweetwater provide abundant nectar for the community’s six beehives, home to about 750,000 western honeybees.
Sweetwater residents can help honeybees thrive, and beautify their yards at the same time, by growing a variety of plants and trees that attract bees and other pollinators.
Native plants are highly recommended, which makes bee-scaping more of a win-win. Since these plants are ideally suited to our local Hill Country conditions, they require little to no extra watering after they get established.
The Central Texas Gardener blog recommends planting a large diversity of native plants, herbs and heirloom species. Plant things that bloom at different times of the year, and plant in blocks of 5-7 plants, as bees are attracted to large masses of flowers.
Just a few of their recommended plants include almond verbena, which has almond-scented white flowers from spring to summer.
Coral vine is ideal for outdoor living spaces and backyards in Sweetwater, offering intensely pink flowers from late summer into fall.
Huisache, also known as sweet acacia, is a small tree with fragrant, bright yellow flowers in early spring.
Flame acanthus is a spreading perennial with bright orange-red flowers from summer to all. It is a “must have” plant for attracting bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, according to the blog.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which works with Sweetwater to nurture the community’s wildflowers, recommends these plants as important pollen and nectar sources for honeybees.
The Central Texas Gardener also recommends going organic, and avoiding pesticides, to attract beneficial insects and to prevent harm to pollinators.
Sweetwater is close to several nurseries with wide selections of pollinator-friendly plants and knowledgeable staffs. Just a few nearby options include the The Natural Gardener, Spicewood Nursery, and Garden-Ville.
The plant diversity in and around Sweetwater contributes to the distinct flavor and color of the community’s own honey, which was recently harvested. Sweetwater’s honey is described as intensely sweet, with notes prickly pear, mesquite and wild grape. The community’s persimmon trees help give the honey its rich reddish-brown color.
Helping honeybees thrive is one of several green living initiatives at Sweetwater, which is also committed to conserving water and energy, helping homeless pets, and nurturing native wildflowers. Read more about Sweetwater’s living green initiatives.
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