Bee on spanish lavender Bee on spanish lavender A bee inspects a fresh Spanish lavender bloom. (Photo: Laura Bartlett / Shutterstock)

How to landscape your garden for honeybees with Mediterranean plants

These five plants are as beautiful as they are good for the environment.

As scientists in their labs are hard at work saving the honeybees, you, too, can do your part – in the garden. By planting sweet-smelling blooms, you can attract bees and butterflies and all manner of pretty pollinators, helping not just these insect populations but the ecosystem at large.

Mediterranean plants in particular have a wide range of where they can grow because of their drought-tolerant nature – as long as you have temperate weather, these plants are perfect for the water-conscious gardener.

"They are opportunists, finding fissures in the landscape where dew collects at night." Amanda Lind, the Jerusalem Community Gardens coordinator for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), tells From the Grapevine. "The plants that attract the most bees are highly scented."

Perfect for any kind of garden – an urban garden or even on your windowsill – these plants are low-maintenance with a range of benefits. We'll help you get started, with the advice of Lind.

Lavender

Field of Spanish lavenderNothing is quite as beautiful as a meadow of Spanish lavender basking in the morning sun. (Photo: daniana/Shutterstock)

Lavender boasts a rich purple color and a hardy disposition. Lind recommends Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) in particular as a plant that needs very little water to grow.


Hollyhock

Pink hollyhockHollyhock attracts honey bees with its big, bright blooms. (Photo: Adrien Sifre/Flickr)

Hollyhock grows in bunches along a stalk, each bloom more impressive than the last. Lind says the variety Alcea setosa, bristly hollyhock, is easy to grow from the seed, making it an affordable option for your garden.


Honeysuckle

Yellow, red and orange honeysuckle bloomsEtruscan honeysuckle is a flame-colored creeping bloom. (Photo: LFRabanedo/Shutterstock)

If you're looking for a plant to climb a lattice or fence, Lind says that Etruscan honeysuckle is the way to go. We all know honeysuckle to be a fragrant bloom, and this plant is among the most colorful of all varieties.


Thyme

Tiny thyme flowerIsraeli thyme has a pretty little purple bloom. (Photo: Lies Van Rompaey/Flickr)

Lind recommends thyme as a good groundcover plant – it will spread far and wide. Then, you'll have plenty of this herb to go around when you decide to pick a little for cooking!


Sage

Pink sage flowersJerusalem sage is one of the prettiest blooming herbs you'll ever see. (Photo: James Gaither/Flickr)

Several species of sage grow native to the Mediterranean region, but only one is medicinal, Lind notes.

Jerusalem sage (Salvia hierosolymitana), a surprisingly pretty flowering plant native to Israel, certainly does its job attracting pollinators with its peculiarly shaped blossoms.

With your list of plants in tow, it's time to get started! The bees will be thankful.

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