We here at Bee Better Naturally with Helen Yoest are an all-volunteer, non-profit educational foundation dedicated to helping you–yes, you–understand the value and importance of creating sustainable, organic, water-wise gardens, gardens that will attract and sustain helpful friends like butterflies, bees, and pollinators of every persuasion.
Whether you were born with naturally green thumbs or are a complete novice, we have a wheelbarrow full of educational garden tools to help you get started and keep on going.
Let's Start with Introductions
Where to begin? Our executive director is Helen Yoest, gardener, stylist, lecturer, and award-winning author of such titles as Plants with Benefits, Good Berry, Bad Berry and Gardening With Confidence. She's also penned countless articles in garden-related magazines.
Yes, she has graduate and undergraduate degrees in environmental science and engineering. And, yes, she once travelled the world in her career as an air pollution engineer. But that's another story.
In 2016 Helen founded Raleigh, NC-based Bee Better Naturally with Helen Yoest, turning her eye and scientific mind toward helping homeowners, community leaders and developers create eco-friendly gardens in their own urban neighborhoods. And there's no looking back.
The Best Thing About Helen
If we had to name the best thing about Helen–a hard pick to be sure!–it would be her broad knowledge about gardening and nature and her willingness to share her knowledge with others. Through her books and articles, educational courses and workshops at Raleigh's J. C. Raulston Arboretum, speaking engagements, and the Bee Better website, Helen Yoest reaches a wide audience.
And the second best thing? She's never afraid to learn and share something new.
What is Sustainability, Anyway?
Glad you asked. Sustainability is more than just a buzz-word, but it can still be hard to define. In gardening practices, it's all about being a good steward of the earth. Sustainable gardens conserve natural resources. And they don't add anything to the environment that doesn't belong there in the first place.
What Does Bee Better Naturally Do to Promote Sustainability?
It's what we're all about. There are so many ways to grow and maintain sustainable gardens, and we use our forum to educate the public.
As a plant-centric organization, we promote sustainable, water-wise gardens. One of the easiest ways to collect water in a wise manner is by installing water barrels at your downspouts. That's great if it rains, of course, but if it hasn't rained in a while, there's nothing wrong with using your sprinklers.
Just be smart about it and try to water early in the day when the weather is cooler. In this way you'll lose less of this precious natural resource to evaporation. Adding a layer of mulch to your garden will also help moderate soil temperatures and reduce evaporation as well.
Leaves: A Great Natural Resource
If we had our way, everyone would leave their leaves on the lawn after the fall. They provide excellent nutrients for the soil, and they add a bit of comfort for our friends in nature like toads and lizards, insects, and earthworms. Birds will also pick through the leaves for tasty bugs hiding beneath.
If you must rake your leaves, however, find an out of the way spot to pile them up. What you call leaf composting, we call fertilizing sustainably.
Get the picture? You can find all sorts of useful sustainable tips like these in our regular blog posts.
What's This I Hear About Courses?
Gardening is all about attraction. Attracting bees. Attracting birds and butterflies. Attracting the eye. We regularly offer a variety of attractive courses for every gardening interest.
Through our website, you can sign up for interesting workshops about how to attact and care for butterflies in your garden or how to attract and care for eastern bluebirds. We also offer a four-week, eleven-module course that will earn you a certification in Sustainable Gardening. Keep your eye out for courses that interest you. They change regularly.
One More Thing
Another nice thing about our website is that you can sign up for a 30-minute private consultation for help with your gardening questions. You can also purchase Helen's books or her Guide of Butterfly Host Plants. Or just contact her by email or on Facebook with your questions. She'll do her best to get you an answer.
Now that you know a little more about Bee Better Naturally with Helen Yoest, we hope you'll stop by for a visit. Until then, happy gardening!