The Nerd and I love to sit on the front porch in the morning, sipping coffee, and watch the bees bop from flower to flower in the front garden. Bees matter. We know that. And we're a thousand percent dedicated to making our yard a save haven, an island sanctuary surrounded by a sea of lawns treated weekly by the Chemlawn people.
One of this year's major projects is to add two pollinator flower gardens to the end of the new patio. This is the second dedicated pollinator space. The first is out front, near the apple trees. They do double duty. They're pretty, because they're filled with flowers that bloom from spring to frost, and they bring bees to the garden to help pollinator our food plants.
The plan for the new flower/ bee gardens in the backyard: two seven foot long, L-shaped raised beds. We're hoping to fill them with inexpensive and free perennials from the annual Central Ohio plant swap, although I did buy three echinacea ( coneflower), two Jacob Cline monarda (red bee balm), two Iceland poppies, and one oriental poppy. I also transplanted a small purple salvia from the front yard into the bed.
It took five, 5/4 x 6 inch x 12 foot cedar boards to make each raised bed. My out of pocket for each was about $70. I lined the bottom of each with cardboard, to act as a weed block. Then, I filled each one with a two to three-inch layer of crappy leftover soil from when we excavated the patio. I covered that with a thin layer of straw. Then, I emptied the compost bin and spread a thin layer of not quite but mostly-finished compost over the straw. I topped it all off with about six inches of Zoo Brew Compost from Price Farms Organics.
|Bed one, during construction.|
|The first bed, in place, before the ends were sunk into the ground.|
|Getting everything in place, including the cardboard.|
|First, a thick layer of cardboard.|
|The thin layer of not great soil.|
|The thin layer of straw.|
|And in goes the stuff from the compost bin.|
|The finished pollinator garden, filled with Zoo Brew and echinacea.|