Bee Friendly Urban Yard

May 5, 2014

My idea of a “wildlife” yard started about 15 years ago. I first started my prairie restoration project covertly by planting creeping thyme in areas of my front lawn and then allowing the thyme to overrun the fescue grass. The results are a very low maintenance lawn that blooms when I neglect to mow it for a couple of weeks. (Oh, no! More time for kayaking!)

The next phase was adding gardens with native plants. This turned out to be a bold move. Many of the native plants grow to be 3 to 9 feet tall! I was making a statement with the size and scope of the plants. I enjoy creating “arrangements” where there are a variety of plants in a 3’ x 5’ area and other areas along the fence that are “stands” of one plant variety. When sneeze weed, coneflowers and asters are in bloom, the flowers are visited by hundreds of wild bees. Bumble bees, honey bees, tiny green bees, large black wasps with blue wings and many more varieties of pollinators are represented. The tall cut-leaf coneflowers are a favorite of gold finches. Sometimes I have two dozen finches in my small backyard at a time!

I have found my native plant restoration yard to be fun and rewarding--a little oasis of nature and wildlife just outside my kitchen window. The plants are perennials. I am not a slave to the watering and well-being of my gardens; they take care of themselves once established. I revel in relaxing in the hammock to the hum of bees doing their work while I catch up on some reading.


I am delighted to be a guest blogger for Bee America and share with you the details of my prairie restoration yard project in urban St. Paul, Minnesota. I hope it will be inspirational for your own springtime planting ideas. 

-Sharell Benson