lavender

 

It would be fair to say that creepy crawlies are not the most loved species of the animal kingdom; however, the bee has defied the odds of the insect world and captured the hearts of our nation. Not only do they satisfy our sweet tooth, but they also are essential in helping our gardens to thrive.

At this time of year, pollination is one of key processes which helps our flowers to bloom and promotes a healthy, vibrant garden. Along with birdsong and the hum of a distant lawnmower, the gentle buzz of a bee brings to mind long, lazy summer days.  Insects, drifting from flower to flower, pollinating as they go, are nature’s invaluable little helpers, responsible for 90% of the world’s flowering reproduction.

Not only do they get our flowers flourishing in the garden, they are largely responsible for putting food on our table. One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees, for a successful harvest.

However, despite their undeniable charm and important role, their numbers are on the downward spiral. Since the 1930s, Britain has lost 97% of its flowering grassland and, coupled with the increased use of pesticides, we are seeing a hugely negative impact on our bee population. To highlight the importance of the bees job, the alternative option, Hand-pollination, is extremely labour-intensive, slow and expensive. The economic value of bees’ pollination work has been estimated around € 265 billion annually, worldwide. So, it pays to protect the bees.

So what can we do to help our hard working friends whilst guaranteeing beautiful blooms?

The first would be to grow plants which naturally are nectar and pollen rich. The best examples of these plants would be ones which flower on their own.

  1. A rose is an example where is easier for bees to gain access to pollen and nectar than double forms.
  2. Phacelia Tenacity Folia  is really easy to grow and very high in pollen levels
  3. Catmint is an easy grower and can be grown in any border
  4. Lavender can be grown in a border or a pot and is highly popular with bees.

Other ways in which you can help:

  1. Keep a look out for gaps in the lawn which may have holes. This is a great place for bees to nest, as well as holes in walls.
  2. Buy a nesting box. Bees are naturally drawn to woodey materials and need somewhere to nest. Our Woodcrete Brown Nesting Box would provide the perfect home for displaced bees.
  3. Grow Wild! Let some areas of your garden grow long grass and wild flowers which is the ideal habitat for bees to flourish.

Finally the most effective way in which we can help is to stop spraying our gardens extensively with pesticides and adopt a more natural approach when maintaining our gardens. This alone has been viewed to be the most detrimental contribution to the decline in numbers of pollination insects.

There are a number of ways in which we could help create an inviting garden for bee habitation, and you don’t have to live in the countryside to be able to lend a helping hand:

Wooden planters such as our Vendome Wooden Planter or Stockholm heavy duty planter have become increasingly more popular and are an effective way of gardening in the city and planting wildflowers in this way has never been so easy:

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  • Start with filling pots with well broken down compost, aiming to leave a 2cm gap between the top of the compost and the rim of the pot.
  • You can add controlled-release fertiliser granules and mix them into the compost which will feed a plant with a balanced supply of nutrients throughout its growing period.
  • To stop drainage holes in the bottom of your planter becoming blocked, add a layer of broken bits of pot. If you can’t get your hands on broken crockery, polystyrene packaging will work just as well.
  • With plants still in their pots, arrange in the container. Put taller plants in the centre and trailing or smaller plants around the edges.
  • Otherwise, once you're happy with the arrangement, remove all pots and plant.
  • Fill in the gaps with compost and firm with your fingers.
  • Finish by watering well.
  • To give plants an extra boost of essential nutrients, it is a good idea to replace the top soil of your potted plants with a fresh layer of compost each spring.
  • Make sure you continue to water plants well throughout spring and summer as plants in containers are in danger of drying out as the weather warms up.

 

So there you have it, some hints and tips to appeal to your garden’s wild side and help protect our honey making allies.