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Flowering Bee Lawns — The Grow Network Community
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Flowering Bee Lawns

tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Beekeeping

 I went to a "bee college" a few weeks by zoom ago and Marla Spivak was one of the instructors. One of her presentations was about Flowering Bee Lawns. Here is a link to the toolkit for land managers:

What are flowering lawns? Flowering lawns are turfgrass areas mixed with low-growing, perennial flowers, like white clover, self-heal, and creeping thyme. You can walk on bee lawns and mow them just like a regular lawn, and the flowers provide food for bee pollinators.

More than 56 species of bee pollinators were found just on white clover growing in park lawns in Minnesota. That's nearly 15% of the bee species in the whole state! Adding additional flower species to lawns supports even higher bee diversity and ensure they are not competing for the same resources. The toolkit in the above link talks about other species of flowers to ad to a flowering lawn.

Comments

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 725 ✭✭✭✭

    So there is a positive word for people with lazy lawns like me, hee hee! Seriously though, I kept walking around my backyard this spring and thinking, "Why does anyone want just grass, when you can have... clover, wild violets, dead nettle, nemophilia, dandelion, self heal, etc." They were all blooming and the bees buzzed around constantly. Now admittedly, after the spring flush of bloom is over, its not as attractive, but I still wouldn't trade it for the plushest lawn.

  • solarnoon.aspensolarnoon.aspen Posts: 219 ✭✭✭

    On purpose, We have let things go on our property. It's at the 'urban meadow' phase as shown on a list in the link tomandcara included. This year with more rain than usual, it's quite verdunt looking and difficult to navigate sometimes. But most of the plants that are growing are fantastic fodder for the rabbits. Every mealtime, I'm out foraging for them. Once it dries up in the summer, I'll mow to cut down the undesirables like knapweed so they don't bloom and spread even more. Catch 22. Daisy, buttercup and knapweed take over if you don't do anything about them. And, it is odd that as much as we want to leave things to grow and prosper, there is some sort of relief when we can walk around unimpeded.

    so.........

  • JensJens Posts: 555 ✭✭✭✭

    @tomandcara great resource. Thank you for the link.

    I try to encourage people to at least leave some far away and ou of sight edges go and grow like they like. These small niches will burst with insect and other wild life really soon.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭

    @Jens, @solarnoon.aspen, @blevinandwomba I tried for years to have one of the "beautiful, homogeneously green, mono-cultured" lawns. I gave up years ago as the peanut-butter clay soil just requires too much water to keep te grass green. For a number of years now I have been growing sunflowers in the front yard. Their roots "drill" deep holes of organic matter into the clay. In a few more years I may try a bee lawn. Right now it doesn't even rank as an urban meadow. I love the quote "man makes lawns, god makes meadows"

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,766 admin

    My daughter has a new property and she has done this. She got a bag of no mow, low flowering seeds and has spread that. Its not coming along as fast as she expected so has added some plants; sedum, chamomile and mother of thyme in places to get it to fill in the gaps. I think they might get bees at some point.

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    I live on about 3 acres of lawn area which still always has to be mowed.

    The gardens, buildings, flower and fruit beds etc. are scattered around all over the place also but the backyard section of the "mowing grass" area is often wet/moist or damp because it has a lot of tree shade/cover from the mini forest at the end of the grassy area. Then it is also on a relatively steep slope so it's so impossible to get it mowed three quarters of the time each year. All you do is slide down the slope and you can't ever get the lawn tractor back up the slope.

    We tried going horizontal on the slope and the first time I started sliding down sideways, I said to myself "That's it! Never again!"

    Plan B became to change it into a no-mow section after I noticed those mixes in the seed catalogs. So in 2018 I made that whole section (about a 1/4 acre) seeded with those no-mow field mixes.

    The first year I seeded in the Spring and it was a little sparse but I thought it still looked nice. 2019 it filled in well but I noticed now I was getting white clover in other sections of my yard also. Now it's 2020 and my whole 3 acres of grassy area looks like white clover fields. It's funny actually because between the backyard where the slope is and the front yard is several outbuildings, the house, the garage, a fruit orchard, many flower beds and on and on. But that clover made it up there beyond all of that anyway.

    Seems I am going to learn to love clover!

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball The honeybees love clover flowers, as well as other pollinators. Sounds like you are helping bring a lot more balance into life than just a lawn would. Nice to hear that things filled in year 2 plus. now, will this spread to other yards in your area, either by intention, or just by a natural spread of seeds?

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 708 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey With what you say your daughter has done with her new property, she will attract many pollinators and she can get an idea if there are honeybees close by just by watching for them. When I started keeping honeybees 20 plus years ago it was after observing my garden for 2 summers and never seeing any honeybees. Since that time hobby beekeeping has grown in popularity and I am aware of a number of people in my neighborhood that now keep bees. My mother-in=law has a neighbor who wanted to keep bees but has has been very happy that I put a couple of hives in mom's back yard. The neighbor is happy to have mom's bees visiting and pollinating her garden

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,508 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I over-seeded clover in the lawn at my last house to help fix nitrogen. We also had a mimosa tree in the middle of the lawn, so had little need of fertilizer applications.

    Our current house has a mini lawn that is full of weeds. I hand pick baby shrubs out of it, otherwise we keep it primarily for our dogs. (I also don't mind any rabbits helping to keep the edges trimmed.)

  • greyfurballgreyfurball Southeastern PennsylvaniaPosts: 592 ✭✭✭✭

    @tomandcara

    Yes, when I wrote the above comment and right before I posted it I was also thinking by 2021 all my neighbors will probably see clover in their yards too. It has do a little blowing to reseed there since we aren't all that close but I'm sure the wind will figure out how to do it.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    I purposely planted Texas frog grass in between my pavers after removing lawn. I allow self heal and native strawberries grow in all my flower beds. I encourage the English daisy to grow in all the lawn areas, I hope it takes over eventually. I grow blue star Creeper and bees seem to enjoy that. My medicine garden is under planted with elfin thyme and in the shady parts I let horsetail, dandelion and buttercup go as they may. But I do like separation so even though I let the “weeds” grow they have to be contained to their assigned area. Lol

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