Jacqueline Hamilton's picture
Posted by Jacqueline Hamilton /
Bees on goldenrod in the LEAF learning garden
Introducing our brand new Native Bee Kit- making your yard bee-autiful and bee-friendly at the same time!


You’ve probably heard that bees are in trouble. It seems to be a topic that’s popping up everywhere. There have been several recent documentaries focused on the collapse of honeybee populations; recent media concerning native North American bee species includes this great video by the New York Times. Scientists have linked many factors to the decline in native bee populations including pesticides, parasites, lack of habitat, lack of flowers, climate change, the spread of invasive species, and the complex interaction between these pressures.


Honeybee visiting a flower


You’d better Bee-LEAF we want to help!

LEAF has teamed up with Friends of the Earth  and Ontario Power Generation to help improve city life for native bees.  Throughout the year we’ll be hosting events that feature native bees and their connection to our urban forest - stay tuned!

Our first step was to create a new Native Bee Kit – an easy way for anyone to create a mini-bee habitat right in your own back or front yard. Here are a couple of my favourite species included in the kit:


"Gewöhnliche Schneebeere" - Common Snowberry flower

Common snowberry: This is a beautiful shrub loved by gardeners and bees alike. The flowers provide a late spring/early summer nectar and pollen source for bees and other insects. A great bonus is that snowberries also provide food for birds and wildlife.


"Canada Wild Rye"

Canada wild rye: Aside from its potential for making whiskey, Canada wild rye is also an important plant for our native bees. Grasses provide important shelter and habitat for solitary bees and while I’m no grass connoisseur, I personally think  this species is lovely. 

Bee a part of the solution!

Our kits come in two sizes; large ($265 - covers around 55 square feet of garden space and includes 52 perennials and 4 shrubs) and small ($145 - covers around 25 square feet of garden space and includes 22 perennials and 2 shrubs). All kits come with sample garden designs , mulch, and tips to ensure your garden succeeds and provides great habitat for our native bees. Contact us today to place an order for this spring!

LEAF Learning Garden


Fun fact! The aggressive visitors to your picnic or barbeque are often wasps, not bees! What’s the difference you ask? Erin can tell you. Native bees are even less likely than honeybees to sting you and many of our native bees have stingers so small they can’t puncture human skin!


Jacqueline Hamilton is LEAF’s Residential Planting Program Coordinator.



Hi Josee! Thanks so much for your interest in our Native Bee Garden Kits. They have been very popular this spring, so unfortunately we are now sold out for the 2016 season. They will be available again for spring 2017, so if you are interested in getting one next year, we encourage you to give us a call early in the season (March or April) to ensure you're not disappointed! Thanks, Melissa
I am very excited about the Bee kit. I bought your shade garden kit a couple of years ago and the plants are now doing beautifully. Do you have any of the Pollinator kits left?
Where can I get the sign "Pollinators at work"? Melanie
Hi Jim, the plants contained in our bee garden kits are all listed on our website here: http://www.yourleaf.org/sites/yourleaf.org/files/2016-kit-bee_1.pdf Hope that helps! Melissa
Can you please advise of the list of plants used in the kits for use by those not a part of the kit program? Thank you.
Excellent idea - Is there a cost for these kits? And can a non-resident buy them to give to TO residents? Thanks.
Great question, thanks for asking! I have added the cost of the Native Bee Kits to the post. The large kits are $235 (+ HST) and the small are $125 (+ HST). You can certainly buy a kit as a gift for someone who lives in one of our program areas (currently Toronto, Ajax and York Region). All you will need to do is contact us to place the order and provide payment, and just let us know the name, delivery address and contact info for the person who will be getting the kit. Thanks!

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