An Herb Garden for Birds and Bees

Herbs are naturally aromatic and many are highly favored by honeybees and other insects. Learn how you can have your own garden perfect for birds and bees.
Beneficial Herb Garden

Beneficial Herb Garden

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - Herbs

Transforming your garden into a haven for insects and small mammals does not have to mean banks of burrs and overgrown meadows of native species. Herbs are naturally aromatic and many are highly favored by honeybees and other insects. Trees are rarely described as herbs but they add an important habitat and provide much-needed shelter to insects throughout the year. Silver birch (Betula pendula) is a great food source for invertebrates as well as thirsty gardeners as the sweet sap can be used fresh or fermented to make a fine wine.

Materials Needed:

  • 3 x Lavandula stoechas
  • 3 x Rosmarinus officinalis
  • 15 x Allium aflatuense
  • 1 x Betula pendula

Border Basics

Size: 10x10 feet
Suits: A mix of bulbs, perennials and trees
Soil: Fertile, well-drained
Site: Any sunny or lightly shaded position

Planting and Aftercare

Try to remove all weeds before planting and tie any woody offcuts or stems of dead grass into bundles and hang in a sheltered place to provide a habitat for aphid-munching lacewings and other beneficial insects. Keep deadheading and pruning to a minimum, but remove larger leafier perennials if they collapse after the first frosts. They can cover sections of smaller shrubs that are then liable to be spoiled by the rotting foliage. Leave seedheads for the birds to harvest, but hoe in the spring as self-sown seedlings could take over. Insect pests can be a problem until a natural balance has developed and some damage has to be accepted. Biological controls help, but avoid chemical pesticides, which harm bees unless accurately targeted.

Lavandula stoechas (image 1)
Well-drained soil, Full sun, Award-winning plant.

Rosmarinus officinalis (image 2)
Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites, Well-drained soil, Full sun.

Betula pendula (image 3)
Fully hardy plants, Well-drained soil, Moist soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade, Award-winning plant.

Allium aflatunense (image 4)
Fully hardy plants, Well-drained soil, Full sun.

Alternative plant idea:
Borago officinalis (image 5)
Fully hardy plants, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade.

Next Up

Growing Herbs

Plants can be expensive and identical cultivars difficult to source, but increasing your own stock or growing new varieties is not difficult and is very rewarding in exchange for a small amount of financial outlay.

Growing Herbs From Cuttings

Many plants do not produce viable seed or, if they do, it is so fiddly or slow to grow that it is easier and quicker to take cuttings from your favorite plant. Always keep your new cuttings moist and in a warm, sunny place.

Potager Herb Garden

Groups of symmetrically arranged raised beds provide an easy and attractive way to cultivate a wide range of herbs without having to set foot on the soil. Learn how to grow your own potager herb garden.

Dividing Herbs

Plants are not cheap, and some nurseries are reluctant to divulge the easiest methods of quickly growing more from a single specimen. Wait until your new plants are well rooted and then plant them out in the garden.

Basil: A Flavorful Herb That Looks Great in Containers

Grow from seeds in a sunny spot by themselves or in combination with other edible plants.

Kitchen-Inspired Container Gardening for Small Spaces

You don’t have to have a green thumb to have a green patio. All you need are the right tools, info and a little creativity.  Sponsor content courtesy of Fiskars

Growing Herbs From Seed

Get tips on how to easily and inexpensively grow herbs from seed.

Selecting Plants for a Tropical Garden

The key to planning a tropical kitchen garden is making sure everything is edible and that the vegetables, fruits and herbs also provide color and fragrance.

Planting Australian Plants in Your Garden

Some of these specimens from Down Under could have great potential for American gardens.

Plant the Rainbow: Using Color in Garden Design

Lush greens are just the beginning when it comes to choosing plants for your outdoor area.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Rescue My Renovation

6:30am | 5:30c

Selling LA

7am | 6c

House Hunters

7:30am | 6:30c

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

House Hunters

11am | 10c

House Hunters

11:30am | 10:30c

House Hunters

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
Tonight
Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

Good Bones

10pm | 9c

Fixer Upper

11pm | 10c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

Good Bones

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

2am | 1c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.