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Even a small space can be turned into budding summer oasis.
You probably think that growing a beautiful outdoor garden in Vancouver is impossible when you don’t have any green space. The closest thing most of us get is tending a plot in a community garden, but that doesn’t make it any easier to enjoy your plants in the comfort of your own home.To help busy apartment-dwellers and urbanites kick-start their gardens this spring, Bees Matter is offering free seed kits that comprise the following five non-invasive flowers. All five were selected with recommendations from Pollinator Partnership Canada. The varieties will bloom at different times in the season to give your balcony garden a burst of colour, while providing nutritious food to pollinators! They also thrive in Canada’s climate, making them an easy and welcome addition to your balcony.With these seeds in your back pocket and these tips in your gardening repertoire, you’ll be set to enjoy a lush, full array of flowers in no time.
Photo: Brandon BlahnikThis bright yellow flower is from the family Asteraceae, which is named for its flowers’ star-like shape. Perennials like the lance-leaved coreopsis prefer full sun, making them perfect for your windowsill or balcony, and thrive in the heat of late July and August.Part of the goal of the Bees Matter initiative is to create food sources for honey bees and other pollinators, which are attracted to plants like this. Honey bee populations are on the rise across Canada, but one of the challenges they face is a lack of nutritious food sources. When Canadians — urban and rural alike — plant gardens that are likely to attract pollinators, they’re playing a part in supporting the health of pollinators in the region.
Photo: Joshua MayerThe New England aster comes to life in more than 50 different variations, each with distinct colours and shapes. You can choose to layer these seeds in a container with other wildflowers, as they’ll bloom at different times in the season. Alternatively, plant them in a container behind your other flowers as the New England aster can grow to four feet tall.
Photo: Patrick StandishYou’ve probably spotted this one growing alongside roads across Canada. This wild, flowering plant is incredibly resilient, making it a good pick for gardeners who don’t have the greenest of thumbs. Its purple flowers will even return next spring if you’re lucky!The Dense Blazing Star provides a significant amount of pollen for honey bees and other pollinators, thanks to its numerous flowers. The more plants like it in both urban and rural environments, the less distance honey bees will have to travel to find food, resulting in healthier hives all around.
Photo: F. D. RichardsFrom Quebec to British Columbia, the Golden Tickseed’s rich red centre attracts pollinators while its yellow petals provide a stunning pop of colour. As it’s native to Western Canada, the flower should be especially easy to care for in your local balcony garden.This plant thrives in both full sun and partial shade, so try placing it in several positions on your balcony when figuring out where it likes best. A spot that receives between one and four hours of sun is considered partial shade, so the Golden Tickseed doesn’t need to be front and centre in your planter.
Photo: bobistravelingDespite its name, sneezeweed is neither a weed nor will a garden full of it make you sneeze. This plant is drought-tolerant and loves full sun, so you can leave it for days and it will still be alive and thriving when you return. Its large spherical florets are well-loved by pollinators like butterflies and honey bees, making it an excellent addition to your home garden.These five flowers, available in the Bees Matter seed kits, are an excellent catalyst to your balcony garden (or your windowsill garden, or your community garden). Order yours today and enjoy stunning flowers all season long.