Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators

bee friendly cover cropped

This new pdf resource is free to download and a great document for anyone wanting to ensure their garden, verge, community patch or farm is as pollinator friendly as it can possibly be.

It’s a guide put out by Rural Industries Research and Development, and is a fantastic resource covering ideas for bee-friendly plantings in both urban and rural areas. It’s chock-full of planting guides, nectary calendars for different Australian climates, and pollinator garden design…

Mexican sage  - photo from

Mexican sage – photo from ‘Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators’

The thing I really like about this guide is that it’s core focus is on pollination and its benefits for the ecosystem, rather than how to attract this pollinator over that one. Regardless of whether it’s a european honeybee or a native blue banded bee doing the actual pollination, the focus here is creating fertility in gardens and farms.

Aside from a good overview on keeping bees in the city and on farms, this guide also has extensive planting guides and, best of all nectary calendars!

A nectary calendar shows the spread of flowering you can expect over the year, given your plantings. This might seem like a little thing but if you want consistent pollination for your vegetable patch, the more complete your nectary calendar of surrounding plantings, the better. It can make a huge difference to crop fertility.

cool climate urban

cool climate rural

If you were a bee, would you wan to spend the day at a rocking party (the garden with 14 things flowering, as well as the tomatoes) or would you want to use your precious energy to instead fly over to the garden where there’s only a couple of pumpkin flowers and that’s it?

This is the way that pollination basically works. If you’ve got lots of action in the form of flowering plants that pollinators love, you’ll get lots of pollination for everything in the immediate area, consistently.  Even more so if you introduce pollinator habitat and/or hives.

A diversity of plantings means not only the many benefits of a diverse ecosystem with all its integrated pest management outcomes, but also a wide spread of your nectary calendar, increasing your overall pollination year-round.

So planting for pollinators is not just pretty, or a feel good thing, it directly influences the fertility of your garden (where we hope you are growing good food, on whatever scale is possible for you).

jelly bush

 Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators also has an extensive planting guide for urban and rural Australia.

Most of the plants listed are native, but some notably multi-use ones  in the rural sphere are not, and there’s some exotic ornamentals as well.

The winning design for the Häagen-Dazs Honeybee Garden at the Harry Laidlaw Jr Honeybee Research Facility, UC Davis, California

The winning design for the Honeybee Garden at the Harry Laidlaw Jr Honeybee Research Facility, UC Davis, California

This guide also dips into designing for pollinators, and looks at suggested sites for placing hives near the home in urban and rural contexts.

Tagasaste - great bee forage plant with leaves palatable to sheep and cows, also hardy & drought tolerant. A great multi-purpose shrub featured in the guide

Tagasaste – great bee forage plant with leaves palatable to sheep and cows, also hardy & drought tolerant. A great multi-purpose shrub featured in the guide

Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators – Mark Leech – pub Dec 17 2012

“The Australian honeybee industry provides essential benefits to agricultural, horticultural and urban environments through managed and incidental pollination services.

Planting bee forage for honeybee nutrition offers major benefits to the industry and society. This planting guide for bee forage describes planting choices from the backyard to the bush, right across the nation, and will assist with increasing available bee food. Individuals, gardeners, municipalities, government land management authorities and farmers can make a difference.

Partnerships and innovation in urban environments and broad-scale vegetation management will effect a positive difference. Perennial pastures for semi-arid lands, biofuel plantations, carbon farming, biodiverse planting and revisiting existing plantation development can all deliver significant regional benefits.

This guide gives ideas and choices of species to bring about improved outcomes for honeybees and the Australian pollen- and nectar- using fauna, including mammals, insects and birds.”

bee friendly cover

FREE PDF DOWNLOAD HERE

You can buy hard copies of this guide from Rural Industries on their page.

Also a note that if you’re interested in keeping bees naturally, we run Natural Beekeeping courses with Tim Malfroy, Australia’s leading Warré beekeeper, in Sydney and at Milkwood Farm.

>> More articles on Natural Beekeeping at Milkwood

Big thanks to Rural Industries for putting out such a useful and usable guide that has the potential to benefit Australia-wide communities’ health, food security and ecosystems.

5 Comments

  1. Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on latebloomershow and commented:
    I know a lot of you are thinking about bees. Here’s the latest post from Milkwood Permaculture. Please share! Thanks! – Kaye

  2. Posted January 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Cheers for the heads up and we are in the process of planting bee friendly everything all over Serendipity Farm :)

  3. dixiebelle
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Our bees were seen bringing in lots pollen, so let’s hope that means babies are in there, which means Queen Bella is in there. We are hoping to check on them this weekend, but it might be too hot. They seem to be enjoying our dill, scarlet runner bean, coriander and squash/ zucchini flowers at the moment, but I can’t imagine there is anything much out there for them at this time of year, in such a hot Summer!

  4. Jim
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    dixiebelle you would be surprised. They can travel for up to a couple of kilometres and would be feasting on all sorts of things including trees and shrubs, weeds and everything in between in all your neighbours gardens too. Just make sure you have water for them to drink not too far from their hive. I have a bird bath and water chesnut pond about 20 and 10metres respectively and a river about 150m away.
    We have 40° for the last 3 days so I have rigged up extra shade over my hive.

  5. Posted January 21, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What a great resource – and good to see more attention paid to these invaluable little allies in the garden or farm. There are so many threats to bees from pesticides, climate change and even Colony Collapse Disorder where bees just mysteriously disappear. This extended dry period with very high temperatures is hard on them too. Bees need to suck their water up which is why you see them walking on the beach, as they can access the water from the sand. Adding a bit of hessian to the edge of a bird bath or a floating plank to a pond will make the water more accessible to them.
    http://earthwisegardening.com/?p=119

10 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators (milkwood.net) [...]

  2. By The Five Plants Bees Love Best « Romancing the Bee on January 17, 2013 at 10:00 am

    [...] Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators (milkwood.net) [...]

  3. [...] Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators (milkwood.net) [...]

  4. By more on bees and gardens « Hazard Hot Sheet on January 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

    [...] Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators (milkwood.net) [...]

  5. [...] Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators [...]

  6. […] native pollinators by Mark Leech. I know a lot of you are thinking about bees. Here’s a bee guide recommended by Milkwood Permaculture. “This new PDF resource is FREE to download and a great […]

  7. […] Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators […]

  8. By Life without bees is rather dull | 3things on September 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    […] friendly by planting gardens and wildflowers and discontinuing your use of insecticides and pesticides. (think before you […]

  9. By Life Without Bees is Rather Dull | Julie Green on September 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    […] friendly by planting gardens and wildflowers and discontinuing your use of insecticides and pesticides. (think before you […]

  10. […] They provide food while increasing biodiversity and providing more spots for our ever-important bees and insects to stop and pollinate. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,627 other followers