For the past year, the Earthwise Society has studied which perennials in its one-acre garden attract the most bees and pollinators. The results are in and a list of easy-to-source, easy-togrow and easy-to-maintain plants is now available to assist both green-and brown-thumbed gardeners to Feed The Bees.
"The purpose of the study was to comprise a resource list for local gardeners and farmers based on observations of which perennials attracted the most pollinators," says Earthwise Society executive director and Feed The Bees Community Campaign co-chair Patricia Fleming.
"The study clearly showed bees' preference for specific species, and even cultivars."
The Earthwise Garden is an ecological demonstration garden located in Tsawwassen with over 300 varieties of low-maintenance plantings, grown without the use of chemicals. It is a companion to the Earthwise Farm, a twoacre organic teaching farm, operated by the non-profit Earthwise Society.
"We host two honeybee hives at Earthwise Farm and there is an additional hive on an adjacent property along with mason bee houses on site," says Fleming. "The presence of so many pollinators close by presented an exceptional opportunity to study and record food preferences."
Observations were made weekly from mid-May until mid-September of last year, and periodically thereafter (depending on the weather).
"This work is going to make it easy for individuals, businesses, organizations and governments to get on board and plant the right kind of plants to provide a continuous source of pollen and nectar throughout the growing season," adds Delta Chamber of Commerce past chair and Feed The Bees Community Campaign cochair Ian Tait.
"When you consider that one out of every three spoonfuls of food we put in our mouths is dependant on a bee or pollinator, the Feed The Bees campaign is critically important to the agricultural community; to food security; to our local, regional and national economies; and to our collective existence," says Tait. "And everyone needs to take action ... now."
Recommended plants are reliably perennial and, if properly sited, will perform well with minimal maintenance. The list includes recommended native plants, as well as other effective pollinator plants. The non-native species recommended are non-invasive and perform well locally.
The study, Bee Friendly Plants for Your Garden and Farm, can be downloaded online via the Feed The Bees website: http: //www. feedthebees.org/resources.
Copies are available at the Earthwise Farm Store at 6400-3rd Ave. The store is open Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The project was implemented as an activity of the Agriculture Environment and Wildlife Fund and Metro Vancouver's Agriculture Awareness program.
Recommended plants are available at local nurseries or may be purchased directly from Earthwise Society. Earthwise plants are grown without pesticides.
The Earthwise Nursery is a social enterprise that provides revenue for educational programs and the Feed The Bees Community Campaign.