Bee experts say urban gardeners often underestimate the importance of bees. Many of the plants in backyard gardens depend on bees for cross-pollination. But there are ways to create gardens that attract healthy bees.
Not all flowers are created equal when it comes to bee forage.
Dr. Christine Casey who is the Director of the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis says bees in the Sacramento region thrive on mint, sage, lavender, daisies, and native plants like California poppies, and Manzanita.
"And, really everything that I’ve mentioned is also very low water use," she says.
But, she doesn’t recommend roses.
"Because the rose breeders have opted to develop showy flowers, and those showy flowers come at the expense of pollen and nectar," says Case.
Casey suggests clustering plant species together rather than scattering them through a garden. This will save bees trips to and from their hives. They typically collect as much pollen as possible from similar flowers before returning to the hive.