In the Garden: creating ‘bee safe’ landscapes
New Hope Mayor Kathi Hemken is helping the environment. Her backyard oasis is where she goes to get away from a hectic day at city hall.

"It's nice to be able to come home and sit in quiet and serenity."

Huge hostas and a variety of native plants make a statement in the entrance way, while her back yard is lined with ferns, peonies, poppies and other perennials. Hemken is careful what she puts in her yard. That's because she wants it to be a 'bee safe garden.'

"It means I don't use any chemicals on the plants. So, if I am putting any fertilizer I use a natural fertilizer. I don't spray anything on top of the plants and I do have plants for the butterflies to come," she explained. 

Bee safe also means she's pulling weeds by hand instead of using chemicals. With the extreme heat this weekend, she'll also spend extra time watering.

"When I water on the top of the plants, I do that in the evening because we don't want the sun boiling the water on top of the plants, and so I usually water early in the morning before the sun is too bright, or late in the evening," she said.

The avid gardener says anyone can grow a great garden, patience and a lot of love are key.

"You have to talk to the plants, and you have to love it, and you have to spend two to three hours a day pulling weeds, just tending to what's there," said Hemken. 

There are many flowers that will attract bees in Minnesota including purple coneflower, swamp milkweed, sunflowers, autumn joy sedum and beebalm. For a full list of bee-loving plants, visit the University of Minnesota website.

Sonya Goins, reporting



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