Plants for Bees–Lavender

I’ll end the week with a plant that’s not a native–at least not native to North America, although it is beloved by most of us.

It’s also beloved by the bees both bumble bees, as you can see in this photo and honey bees.  The “bee garden” plan that I linked to earlier this week includes lavender and most bee garden plans that I’ve seen do as well.

For some of us in New England with heavy clay soil, lavender can be a challenge to grow.  It’s not so much that the climate is too harsh because many lavenders are hardy to Zone 5; rather it’s that the soil stays too wet and cold too late into the spring and the plant rots.

One of the ways that I’ve solved this problem is by planting it next to my driveway.  The reflected heat from the driveway really helps the soil in this garden bed dry out more quickly than anywhere else.

Another trick that I learned by reading about the vineyards in France I’ve put to use around both my rose plants and my lavender.  French growers mound up rocks from their soil around the base of their grapes to help them dry out faster in the spring and to help them warm up.

You may remember the photos of my “New England potatoes”–rocks, some the size of meat loafs–that I’ve pulled out of the ground here.  I mound those around the base of both my roses and my lavender to help them stay dry and to warm up in the spring.  I don’t know whether or not it’s really helping–but for whatever reason, this lavender is 9 years old so something is helping it survive our dreadful wet New England springs!  Both I and the bees are glad!

One thought on “Plants for Bees–Lavender

  1. Donna@Gardens Eye View July 23, 2011 / 8:28 am

    I love growing lavender as well for the pollinators and the heavenly scent…I also learned to plant it near bricks, driveways and stone so that it dries faster…I even have it planted in my rain garden which is a walled garden…I have it resting right next to the stones of the wall and it loves it…great post…loved the whole series..

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