Creating a Bee-Friendly Yard in North Florida
Bee in My Garden Days events have ended and libraries are running out of seeds, but we still have seeds to distribute:
- You can get seeds at WFSU Public Media (1600 Red Barber Plaza in Tallahassee)
- The Leroy Collins Public Library System received a grant from one of the funders of this project, hmi | Tangled Bank Studiosand will soon receive more seeds.
- We have shipped seeds and other materials to UF/IFAS Bay County Extension, which will be distributing them at the Great American Home and Garden Expo in Panama City March 25-27. Click here for more information.
- We may participate in other upcoming events – keep an eye on this page for more information.
Now that you have your seeds, what do you do?
Step 1: Lightly press your seeds to the bare soil – don’t bury them. Clear an area of weeds and grass to minimize competition. Many species of wildflowers can be planted in pots and transplanted into the garden; however, the Sundial Lupine (which is included in this pack) cannot.
2nd step Watch your seeds grow and take pictures.
Step 3 Send us your photos! We want to see what visits your flowers once they start blooming. What pollinators do you see? What’s eating your plants?
People who submit photos of their seed gardens will receive a lawn sign like the ones below. You will also be entered to win one of many prizes, including a bee nest house, bee soft toy, books or a Native Nurseries gift card.
If you picked up a seed packet at an event or at the library, you can come to the UF/IFAS Leon County Extension and pick up potting soil. This mixture is mainly composed of sand and crushed pine bark with topsoil. This simulates the sandy soils of our pine uplands, where the wildflowers in our seed packets grow naturally.
Bee garden kits include:
- Packet of pollinator seeds provided by the World Wildlife Fund/Airwick Scented Oils, which includes: scarlet sage, butterfly milkweed, blazingstar, sundial lupine, several species of coneflower, partridge pea, and more.
- Honey sticks.
- Extensive information on pollinators and pollinating plants, including a color bee habitat brochure created by Native Nurseries of Tallahassee specifically for this project, and a Gardening for Wildlife zine created by UF/IFAS Leon County Extension .
Thanks to our project partners:
Bee Garden Resources
With help from our partners, WFSU has put together the following videos and blog posts with the information you need to create a home for bees in your garden.
Different bees emerge at different times. Does your garden have flowers to sustain them from spring through fall?
The UF/IFAS Leon County Extension has created this guide to plants you can plant in the ground each month of the year.
Some of the bee-friendly plants we learned about actually want to grow in your garden for free. Here are some tips for identifying and knowing the weeds in your garden.
We highlight a plant that for a few weeks in the summer is overrun by pollinators.
Bee Nesting Habitat
Tips for keeping your garden more like a natural habitat, with places where different species of bees can build their nests.
Like all animals, bees need water. Learn how to create a pond in your garden with native plants and places for bees to drink safely.
A guide to the honey bees we see in North Florida, as well as some less common ones.
Tallahassee beekeepers raise a nest of American bumblebees. Once the most common bumblebee species in the United States, habitat loss has reduced their numbers and the bees are now federally listed as vulnerable.
UF/IFAS Poster Bees of North Florida (PDF)
Videos, podcasts and bee activities for kids from WFSU, PBS and American Public Media.
NOW ON STREAMING- PBS Nature: My garden with a thousand bees. The story centers on wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn. As the world went into lockdown in 2020, Dohrn pointed her camera at her small backyard garden, learning about the diverse world of wild bees.
Through a grant from PBS Nature, WFSU hopes to create a similar experience for our viewers in the North Florida and South Georgia area. Any outdoor space has the potential to attract bees. Our partners at Native Nurseries of Tallahassee, UF/IFAS Leon County Extension, and the Florida Native Plant Society share their considerable knowledge with us. We hope you will join us and create a bee-friendly habitat in your own backyard. On this page is the information you need to get started.
Support Nature: My garden of a thousand bees was donated by the Hite Foundation, the Bradley L. Goldberg Family Foundation, and the Sun Hill Family Foundation in memory of Susan and Edwin Malloy. Series financing for Nature is also made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, The Fairweather Foundation, The Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, Charles Rosenblum, The Filomen M. D’Agostino, Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, Leonard and Norma Klorfine, Sandra Atlas Bass, Colin S. Edwards, Gregg Peters Monsees Foundation, Koo and Patricia Yuen, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by public viewers.
What can we do to invite butterflies, birds and other wildlife to our gardens? And what about the flora and fauna that make their way into our courtyards; the weeds, insects and other creatures that create the home ecosystem? WFSU’s Eco Blog takes a closer look.
Applications and citizen science mentioned in the Backyard blog
Identify plants, animals, lichens and fungi in your garden. Other users correct your identifications if you’re wrong, and even if they don’t, it can be a good springboard for further research.
Search by iNaturalist
Instant identification, and it doesn’t log your location. It’s a good option for kids with phones.
Monarch Larval Monitoring Project
Enter information about monarch caterpillars in your garden and help researchers get a sense of the health of the monarch population that year, and how and when they migrate.
Big Sunflower Project
Record the number of pollinators visiting your flowers and help researchers map pollinator activity across the country.