The Bee-Friendly Garden

"Bee gardens make people happy." (1)

Title:  The Bee-Friendly Garden
Author: Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn
Publisher:  Ten Speed Press, an Imprint of Crown Publishing Group
Release Date:  February 9, 2016
Genre: Home, Gardening


For every gardener who cares about the planet, this guide to designing a bee garden helps you create a stunningly colorful, vibrant, healthy habitat that attracts both honeybees and native bees.

In The Bee-Friendly Garden, award-winning garden designer Kate Frey and bee expert Gretchen LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a dazzling garden that helps both the threatened honeybee and our own native bees. No matter how small or large your space, and regardless of whether you live in the city, suburbs, or country, just a few simple changes to your garden can fight the effects of colony collapse disorder and the worldwide decline in bee population that threatens our global food chain. There are many personal benefits of having a bee garden as well! Bee gardens:
· contain a gorgeous variety of flowers
· bloom continuously throughout the seasons
· are organic, pesticide-free, and ecologically sustainable
· develop healthy and fertile soil
· attract birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects
· increase the quantity of your fruit and vegetable harvest
· improve the quality, flavor, and size of your produce

Illustrated with spectacular full-color photos, The Bee-Friendly Gardendebunks myths about bees, explains seasonal flower progression, and provides detailed instructions for nest boxes and water features. From “super blooming” flowers to regional plant lists and plants to avoid, The Bee-Friendly Garden is an essential tool for every gardener who cares about the planet and wants to make their yard a welcoming habitat for nature’s most productive pollinator.



The Bee-Friendly Garden contains a wealth of information for someone who has no idea what she's doing when it comes to gardens, like myself, or enthusiasts with green thumbs or an affinity to bees or environmentalists like others.  I recently read an article about how bees are dying out, at least the cross pollinators that are conducive to our food chain.  Like Rosalind Creasy said on the back of this book, "Most people don’t understand the need to plant for pollinators to achieve productive vegetable gardens, or that pollination and beauty go together.” So without any knowledge of the matter and what I can do in my part, I went searching in the place that I know will give me a good background and ideas. Where? In books, of course! Hence, the need to read through The Bee-Friendly Garden. 

I must say, I'm genuinely impressed with the knowledge one can gain from this book. It's a reading book with charts and ideas that can help you design a garden that benefits 1, your soil, 2, the bees, 3, your curb appeal, and 4, the environment, as well as do a little to help to support biodiversity.  Being someone who doesn't have an ounce of green in any of her fingers, this really does broaden my knowledge of gardening. The types from perennials to annuals, patch size to specie types to color, shapes and sizes, and what works and doesn't work to encourage bee pollination.  It also provides info on the types of bees and what they need.  I particularly like the resources in the back if you want to dive deeper in and the Regional Plant List with zones and common names.  It's also a very pretty book with lots of artistic pictures. In all, informative and visually pleasing with the images. The only thing con I would say is that I find the font a little too small, especially for the elderly, but it doesn't take away from the goal of this book.

NOTE:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Ten Speed Press through Blogging for Books for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.





Photo: © Benjamin Frey
Kate Frey is an international garden designer and consultant specializing in sustainable, insect-hospitable landscaping and small farms. She won two gold medals at the Chelsea Garden Show in London for ecologically themed gardens and is a popular speaker at garden shows and clubs. She has written for Gardens Illustrated and Pacific Horticulture magazines, and lives in Hopland, CA. 


Photo: © Paul Asper

Gretchen LeBuhn is a professor of biology at San Francisco State University and the author/editor of two books on pollinators, Field Guide to the Common Bees of California and Attracting Native Pollinators. She is the founder and director of The Great Sunflower Project (, a national citizen science program designed to gather information about bee diversity and activity.





  1. My dad used to raise bees as a child/teenager, and my grandmother (his mom) was a stellar gardener. I run like a crazy person from bees and I kill every plant I try to grow. Sigh. ;)

  2. Lol. I run from ALL insects and no green fingers on me AT ALL!

  3. It appears that I am in good company...My thumbs are as brown as they come and any creepy, crawly, flying bug freaks me out!


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