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Proctor's Garden: Be good to our bees

As colder weather approaches, Colorado's bees are busy and can use our help.

DENVER — As colder weather approaches, bees are busy. They've got to gather as much pollen as possible to see their hives through the winter. You can help.

Plant perennials that bloom late and supply important food sources for bees.

Bees love New England asters. Blooming in shades of purple and pink, they are among the loveliest of the late bloomers. They thrive in sun. Asters tend to seed themselves so weed out or move unwanted seedlings.

The white wood aster (Aster divaricatus) is also native to the eastern part of the country. It grows best in partial shade and is tough and dependable. The small white flowers make a big show and are the last flowers to bloom in the shady garden.

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' sports brick pink flowers that bees love. The flower color strikes just the right note in the fall garden. It's a really hard plant to kill.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Goldenrods also seem perfect for fall. I grow the variety 'Crown of Rays' with graceful sprays of small gold flowers. it's a myth that goldenrods cause hay fever or allergies. Their pollen is relatively heavy and sticky and is not easily airborne. The pollen is for bees, not for your nose.

Try to keep your annuals blooming as long as possible. Marigolds, black-eyed Susans and pansies also provide a vital food source for bees.

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