Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Good Bug Hotel

This started as an accident. "Temporarily" using one of the six valuable raised beds as a holding area for various ornamental plants until we could come up with a permanent garden home for them.


Well, before you know it, the ornamentals started taking over, leaving little room at the other end of the bed for the vegetables. 

It's not just vegetables that like raised beds. All that high quality, easy draining soil, sunlight and regular watering is nirvana for just about any plant, including the perennials, small shrubs and self-sowing annuals that are filling that 4'x20' box.

 And we didn't have the heart to move least not while they were thriving and looking good. The problem was...they always looked good!

But something happened on the way to the garden shed to get the spading fork to move those offenders of vegetable space.

A closer look showed that these plants had become good bug hotels: attractive flowers for pollinating insects (all sorts of different bees), bigger pollinators (birds, hummingbirds) and beneficial insects (lacewings, ladybugs, syrphid flies and more).

And since most garden fruits and vegetables rely on insects for pollination and bad bug control, who was I to kick these laborers out of their residence? After all, the only payment they asked for was a little food and shelter, along with some nearby water.

There is still a bit of room in that bed for winter vegetables (letting the broccoli and cilantro go to flower in spring is attracting all manner of bees, as well). 

But the showy flowers in that bed - including the scabiosa, nicotiana, salvia, sweet peas, cilantro, sunflowers and butterfly bush - will always be a place for the good guys to live, year round.


  1. Beautiful! Amazing to see how quickly that bed has filled in. Need any rudbeckia? Coneflowers? haha

  2. Hi Fred,
    I also started a benificial insect hotel by mistake,It has become my favorite area in the garden. I like zinnia, buckwheat, fava, vetch, mustard, sunflower. The best part is once its started I just let it reseed itself each year.

  3. I like the idea of letting vegetables bolt and flower for the bees. I did the same thing this year.