How to Grow a Bee Garden

What You'll Need
Honeysuckle and/or Clematis with a trellis
Members of the mint family - sage (salvia), lavender, oregano and mint
Daisies, dahlias, black-eyed Susans
Native plants
Blue, purple and yellow flowered plants
Apple, walnut or hazelnut trees
Capsicum, broccoli, strawberry plants
Bird bath or another source of water
Dead branches and tree limbs

Attracting a bee colony to your yard will provide pollination to many trees and vegetables that find it difficult to survive without their unique form of help. Growing nectar-producing plants and providing habitat for bees to live will attract bees to keep all your plants producing up to their potential. 

Step 1 - Choose a Location

Plant your bee garden in a place where they are less likely to be disturbed by animals or children. Without several hours of uninterrupted work, bees will be unlikely to stay and make your garden their home. Plant as close to your vegetable garden or fruit trees as possible so the bees won't have far to travel to the plants you really want them to pollinate. The bee garden is just a "trap" to lure them in, so planting your bee garden next to (or better yet, around) your vegetable garden will make sure the bees don't neglect your vegetables and fruit trees.

Step 2 - Choosing the Bait

In general, choose flowers that produce large amounts of nectar. Avoid hybrids that are bred to produce extra petals (double-flowered varieties) as the extra petals replace the anthers, thus producing little pollen. Bees seems to prefer blue, purple and yellow flowered plants, so try to include these colors in your bee garden. Plant native plants in your bee garden; these plants will most likely produce more nutritious pollen, and the bees will recognize these plants as good food sources.

Step 3 - Planting the Bee Garden

If possible, don't plant from seed as this will take longer for your bee garden to develop. If you have a fence near your bee garden, plant honeysuckle and clematis near a trellis against your fence for these vine-growing plants to climb. Avoid mulching as some bees like to burrow into the dirt. 

Step 4 - Creating a Habitat

To keep bees around, you have to provide more than just food. Bees need water, so placing a bird bath or water garden in your bee garden will encourage the bees to stick around. If building a water garden, be sure to include water plants like water lilies for bees to rest and pollinate. Many bees will make their homes in dead tree trunks and limbs, so when cutting down or pruning trees, leave an offering for your bees.