A Healing Garden – for You and Bees

by Catherine Haug, February 9, 2014; updated Feb 27,2014 regarding monarch butterflies

Our pollinators, especially bees, are in trouble, dying in great numbers. The situation is getting so severe that growers are concerned their crops will soon lose the ability to to produce seed for future crops, because of the decline in healthy pollinators. This affects almost all vegetables – including squash, tomatoes, greens, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beets, beans, peas, etc.; and many fruits – including huckleberries and other berries, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums, melons and more.

Update: We are also losing another valuable pollinator to the effects of GMO crops: the Monarch Butterfly. This beautiful animal feeds only upon milkweed in its youth, but the spraying of GMO crops with Roundup and other herbicides is killing off all the milkweed. You can help by growing this flowering plant in your yard or garden. See Monarch Watch: Growing Milkweed.

But there is something you can do – every one of you – to help not only the plight of pollinators and our food supply, but also for the health of your family.

Flowering ornamentals, herbs, shrubs and trees you can grow

The key here is ‘flowering,’ because the pollen of flowering plants will support the pollinators, provided those plants are not treated with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that harm bees and other pollinators. This means using organic methods – compost, compost teas, manure and green manure to feed your plants, along with natural means to deter pests and weeds.

Fran reports:

“I planted a bee garden of flowers a few years back and the bees hang out there all spring and summer.  The Lamb’s Ear I planted spreads vigorously and the bees LOVE it. Also have columbines, yarrow, sage, lavender and crocus sativa.  The deer do not like any of them so I have flowers all summer and fall, and the bees collect pollen and nectar.”

If you believe in healing with herbs, many of the beautiful flowering plants you can grow are also healing herbs, and many are edible foods. NOTE: some of these plants may not grow well here in NW Montana.


  • Solanum lycopersicum (tomatoes)
  • Allium cepa (red onion)
  • Allium sativa (garlic)
  • Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)
  • Capsicum (red pepper)

Flowering, healing bulbs:

  • Galanthus nivalis (snowdrop)
  • Narcissus (daffodil; also deer-resistant)
  • Ornithogalum umbellatum (star of Bethlehem
  • Lilium tigrinum (tiger lily)
  • Crocus sativa (saffron)


  • Echinacea (purple cone flower)
  • Baptisia (wild indigo)
  • Viola tricolor (pansy)
  • Calendula (pot marigold)
  • Aquilegia (columbine)
  • Bellis perennis (English daisy)
  • Spigelia (pinkroot)
  • Aconitum napellus (monkshood)
  • Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley)
  • Primula veris (cowslip)
  • Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ear)
  • Lavendula (lavender)
  • Asclepias (milkweed) (Added with 2/27/14 update)


  • Myrica (bayberry)
  • Ilex aquifolium (American holly)
  • Mahonia aquifolium aka Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape)
  • Laurocerasus (cherry laurel)
  • Thuja occidentalis (arbor vitae)
  • Rosa (Rose, for rose hips or Chinese traditional medicine)


  • Taraxacum (dandelion)
  • Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy)
  • Ambrosia (ragweed)
  • Stellaria media (chickweed)
  • Plantago major (plantain)


  • Magnolia grandiflora (magnolia)
  • Crataegus (hawthorn)
  • Chionanthus (fringe tree)
  • Juglans regia (walnut)
  • Juniperus (juniper)
  • Thuja plicata (Western red cedar)
  • Prunus (cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, almonds)

Some of these plants are poisonous except when used homeopathically – for example Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy), called Rhus tox in homeopathic terms, and some may be problematic for those with asthma or hay fever, so choose wisely.


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