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Farmers Market Academy: open to the public free of charge!

The Greenbrier Valley Farmers Market offers the public a free series of entertainment and educational talks in the pavilion adjoining the market space in the grass. Join us for these “Farmers Market Academy sessions” Saturdays at 10 a.m.

Check back for the 2015 schedule...



~~Maybe you’ve heard of pollinator gardens and thought, it’s a nice idea but it’s not for you. After all, gardening is hard work and not everyone has a green thumb,...

Forget Lawns - 7 Reasons to Turn Your Yard into a Bee Paradise  |  Saturday, August 30, 2025

~~Maybe you’ve heard of pollinator gardens and thought, it’s a nice idea but it’s not for you. After all, gardening is hard work and not everyone has a green thumb, right?

If you think you can’t create a dynamic, lush bee garden in your own backyard, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Designing a pollinator garden is an approachable project for gardeners of all experience levels, whether you’re looking to increase yields in a long standing vegetable garden or have never touched a trowel in your life. If you’re not convinced, here are seven more reasons you should turn your lawn into a backyard bee paradise.
1. It’s Easy
You know what’s not easy? Mowing your lawn every weekend. Skip the chore and transform your garden into a native plant habitat instead. When you landscape your yard with native flowering plants like fruit trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, you establish a low-maintenance garden that, for the most part, can care for itself. Since plants that are native to your region are adapted to the specific soil and rainfall found there, they thrive with minimal help on your end.
2. It Brightens Up Your Yard
Lawns are boring. Instead of a sea of monochromatic green, turn your yard into a kaleidoscope of colors that changes with each season. Native bulbs and flowering trees provide blooms in the early spring, wildflowers deliver a pop of color throughout the warm months, and fall-blooming natives enliven your yard with rich hues even as temperatures begin to drop.
3. And Your Home
Few things beat an afternoon spent in the garden, relaxing in the serene beauty of nature. And you don’t have to leave it all behind when you go inside. Take full advantage of your colorful garden by cutting a few stems for a kitchen table bouquet. Not only will you get to enjoy your garden’s beauty inside, but cutting blooms also promotes the growth of more flowers.
4. It Nurtures Your Inner Foodie
Did you know that bees contribute to one out of every three bites of food you eat? Without bees, crop yields would fall dramatically and some foods could disappear completely. And while we could still meet our basic dietary needs on a less diverse diet, where’s the joy in that? Creating space for bees, birds, and butterflies to live means a more vibrant (and affordable) meal on your plate.
5. It Keeps Life Colorful
By providing a habitat for pollinators, your bee garden will help protect the ecological diversity that makes the natural world so beautiful. Without wild bees to forage them, native plants that rely on pollination to reproduce will disappear. And this change is already happening — as bee populations are dwindling, so is wildflower diversity around the world.
6. It’s a Fun Science Experiment
The fun isn’t over after you’ve planted your pollinator garden. With a wildlife habitat just outside your backdoor, you have a nonstop science experiment to be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. You can learn how to identify different bees and their nests, watch honey bees do the waggle dance to communicate, build a mason bee box, or even dabble in a backyard beekeeping hobby. A bee garden offers endless opportunities for experimentation and improvement. Here are some more tips on ways for kids to have fun growing a home garden.
7. It’s the Right Thing to Do
If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you to start a pollinator garden this year, get this: Bees pollinate food, textile, and forage crops, produce honey, and contribute millions to the economy every year. Without them, our natural world would be less diverse, our food less plentiful, and our agricultural economy less robust. And the threat of a world without bees is a real one: Today, honey bees and wild bees alike are dying faster than ever due to manmade threats from pesticide use to climate change. If the fate of bees is to change, it’s going to require action from everyone — and it starts in your backyard.

Image via Unsplash

Author: Christy Erickson

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