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Posted on Jul 18, 2013 |

Vitamin Water; Attracting Pollinators

Vitamin Water; Attracting Pollinators

A modern herb garden can have much in common with monastery gardens from the earliest days of monastic life.

Many herbs grown in Bible days attract  hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

Many herbs mentioned in the Bible or grown during Bible days produce flowers that pollinating insects and birds love. By planting these herbs, you’ll help our bee population thrive plus you’ll have an abundant harvest. 

Herbs That Attract Butterflies

Butterflies are the happiest in sipping on flowers planted in areas with good sun and little or no wind. The flowers of certain herbs are shaped just right for butterflies to land onto. They include:
Thyme grew wild in the hills of Jerusalem and legend has it that Baby Jesus’ manger was lined with thyme as bedding.


Mint one of the tithing herbs mentioned in Matthew 23:23 is a very fragrant herbs which attracts butterflies. Hyssop also mentioned in the Bible, is a member of the mint family and the butterflies are always landing on its purple flowers.


Parsley not mentioned specifically in the Bible but a much used herb during Bible times. It’s a biennial meaning it sends up leaves the first year and then flowers out the second year. That’s when you see the butterflies alighting on the flowers.


Bible herbs that attract bees.


Basil not mentioned specifically in the Bible but a commonly used herb in those days. Bees like single-petaled flowers. Those are easiest to get the nectar from and basil fills the bill.


Thyme is another Bible herb that bees just love, including what we call native bees, those tiny bees that some folks refer to as sweat bees. They are great pollinators and in the morning, there’s a buzz of bees always on my thyme flowers. Thyme can take drought conditions so it’s an excellent Bible herb to plant.


Bees also love rosemary and dill. They easily reach the nectar of rosemary’s blue or pink flowers, and the stems of rosemary are sturdy enough for even bumblebees. Dill was an important, somewhat rare herb during Bible days and was used for tithing.  Its flowers look delicate but are actually shaped flat like saucers, which gives the bees lots of room.


Bible herbs that hummingbirds love



Hummingbirds are really good pollinators. And they are so fun to watch. Some people make their own hummingbird “nectar” with sugar and water. They like tubular shaped blossoms, so here are some good ones:


Sage is reminiscent of the menorah because of the fact that it has a single center stem with side stems radiating out from it, just like a candelabra. Hummingbirds especially like pineapple sage with its bright red flowers, but tend to enjoy my common sage, as well.


Lavender is fragrant and the blossoms are so beautiful. I have both  blue and pink flowering lavender, and the brighter the color, the more the hummingbirds like it. The legend about lavender is that its flowers were white and when Mary put her blue cloak on the flowers, they turned blue in her honor.


Petunias are good for hummingbirds, too, as they are quite visible and have the right shape. I have some in my Mary Garden and they represent the trumpets of the angels.


A good idea for all these pollinators is to set out a dish of water, especially for the butterflies, who like to take a sip often. Make sure the dish is shallow so they don’t drown.



This drink is full of antioxidants and hydrating and I think better than anything of the vitamin waters you buy. I’ve been sharing variations of this recipe all summer, and realized that most of the ingredients are Bible based!


Pour 6 cups good quality water in a pitcher


1 large lemon and/or lime, thinly sliced (good for stress & immune system) – you can also make a combo of lemons, lime and even oranges

1 small cucumber, skin left on and sliced thinly (hydrating)

Palmful each: mint and basil, chopped (mint has potassium, calcium, magnesium & iron – good for  bones & heart; basil has vit E, potassium and protein – great for skin)

Need to sweeten it? Try raw honey, a wonderful sweetener mentioned in the Bible.


Take a spoon and smoosh everything gently.  This releases the good oils of the fruit and herbs. Chill, strain and serve, garnished with a fresh herb, flower, or citrus slice.



Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly cooking column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Macy’s Regional Culinary Professional  (CCP) and is a Certified Modern Herbalist. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

 Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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