Bee Friendly Gardening
A warm summer evening sitting in your garden, the smell of herbs and flowers, the buzzing of little flying creatures visiting plant after plant. Just have a glass of wine or tea and relax. Isn’t it magical? Now imagine the same garden without buzzing, without smells, without flowers and fruits. This isn’t a pretty scenery. Our life is closely connected to the life of Bees and other pollinating insects. Without them, the world would be a completely different place.
Pollinators living a vital symbiosis with pollinating the plant. Flowers providing nectar (food) for the adult bees and pollen for the hives and infant bees. What do the plants get for return? The bees helping the reproduction cycle of pollinating plants by flying one to another and transferring the pollen from flower to flower. Many of our crops, herbs and fruits are depending on insects like the honey bee. Just to mention some, you probably have in your fridge or cupboard: Raspberry, Apricot, Peach, Almond, Buckwheat, Squash, Zucchini and I would be able to continue to the bottom of the page. Not to forget the lovely raw honey they producing for us.
There is a real threat to our little friends, even governments recognise it. Bees and other pollinator insects numbers are declining. This is due to human activities like pesticide use, pollution and climate change. Shrinkage of natural habitat.
There are many little things you can do to help.
- Aim to have plants preferred by pollinating insects flower from early spring to late Autumn, winter flowers can be helpful too
- Grow bee friendly flowers, plants to attract pollinating insects
- Avoid plants with multi-petalled flowers, these can lack pollen and nectar or can be difficult for insects to gain access.
- Try to avoid pesticides or DON’T use it on plants while flowering, there are plenty of natural options to tackle certain problems
- Encourage pollinator insects by providing nesting places. You can find these in garden centres or you can make your own. Drill holes to block of woods, different sizes 2-8 mm.
- Try to plant native wildflowers species, this not only looks lovely but also native to the bees/insects.
Here is a list of bee friendly plants:
- Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)
- Cantaurea scabiosa (greater knapweed)
- Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove)
- Eupatorium cannabinum (hemp agrimony)
- Lonicera periclymenum (common honeysuckle)
- Origanum vulgare (wild marjoram)
- Thymus pulegioides (large thyme)
- Trifolium repens (white clover)
- Verbascum nigrum (dark mullein)
- Viburnum opulus (guelder rose)
- Caryopteris x clandonensis (caryopteris)
- Dianthus barbatus (sweet william)
- Hesperis matronalis (dame’s violet)
- Hyssopus officinalis (hyssop)
- Jasminum officinale (common jasmine)
- Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender)
- Lychnis coronaria (rose campion)
- Monarda didyma (bergamot or bee balm)
- Verbena bonariensis (purple top)
- Weigela florida (weigelia)
Alternatively, you can get advice in your local garden centre about the bee-friendly flowers. With this little action plan, you can provide vital food and living place to bees, bumble bees and other lovely pollinating insects. For a return, you can enjoy raw honey for many years to come. :)
Please try to help to #savethebees
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- Royal Horticultural Society
- Gardeners World