The row of daffodils along the fence line has burst into bloom and the spirit of spring is singing everywhere. Even on a cloudy, moist day like Thursday, I could smell the newness all around. It was a perfect day to start my bee-friendly container garden and bring my patio to life. As a renter, I can’t do much planting in the ground but you can plant almost anything in a pot!
I started with some research. I found that Xerces and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation had great lists of local, bee-friendly plants. I circled what I thought I wanted and headed a couple miles down Rt. 11 to Toms Brook.
When I arrived at Natural Art Garden Center, a lot of my planning went out the window. I was overwhelmed by all the choices. With the help of one of the shop assistants, I loaded up on herbs, pansies, two hawthorns and some organic potting soil. Right as I was about to leave, I was introduced to the manager, Lynn, who was full of information about bees. She has hives herself and knows firsthand what the bees like. After speaking with her, I added a foxglove and a catmint.
I headed home and happily got dirty potting everything.
Finding myself short on soil, I drove less than a block from my house to Pot Town Organics. Not only did they get me set up with more soil, a trowel, a dozen cage-free local eggs, and some home-made soap, Ron and Linda sent me up to their nursery (which is closed on Thursdays) to scrounge through their discarded pots, since I found myself short. Gabalot Gardens, which is even closer to home than Natural Art, will be my go-to when its time to get some tomatoes started.
I am so happy with my new green space! I can’t wait for a sunnier day to sit out and enjoy it. The only thing missing is a birdbath and a shallower watering hole for the bees.
I found that when you find the right local people to help, building a haven for local bees is easy. I’m lucky to live in a town with so many knowledgeable gardeners who are willing to share their expertise. I don’t think I would have gotten the same experience at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Gardening, at least starting from scratch, is not a cheap hobby…I spent about $200 today on plants and soil alone. To me, it was well worth it.