With Spring just around the corner, I wanted to inspire you to grow some bee friendly plants this year in your gardens to help the declining bee population.
As a gardener, supporting beneficial pollinating insects is important for healthy crop yields in the year and especially important for someone who is wanting to life a year self sufficiently.
British bees have been declining with 20 species already extinct and a quarter of those species surviving now on the official threatened species list of insects.
Bees are responsible for pollinating 75% of our main food crops from fruit orchards and strawberries to the juicy tomatoes which go into our favorite Italian dishes.
Even First Lady Michelle Obama announced a campaign to create 1 million pollinator gardens in the US by the end of 2016.
To be a pollinator garden, you should maintain blooms or flowering plants of non-invasive and preferably native plants throughout the growing season as well providing a water source, use planting rich in pollen and nectar. The site should be in a sunny position and have some level of break from prevailing winds and minimize use of pesticides.
If you are in the US and want to know more about the Million Garden Pollinator Challenge check out the website here. If you are in the UK, Friends of the Earth has a bee saver kit which you can get a Bee Saver Kit with information on the types of British bees and wildflower seeds. You can check out Friends of the Earth here.
Sir David Attenborough made a wonderful TV series called Life In The Undergrowth and Private Life of Plants, you can see an excerpt about British Bumblebees in spring pollinating plants in the links below.
Bees have a preference to the flowers they are attracted to; they mostly prefer simple flowers which are seen by bees in the UV range. Simple flowers include fruit tree blossoms, poppies, sage flowers and other typical cottage garden or wildflowers.
At Misfit Gardening, I’ll be getting a hive this year to help with the pollination of my plants and to use the honey in the kitchen and to make mead. I’m looking at the hive positions in the garden to ensure they will be in the ideal place before I recieve the bees and that a source of food is present. I’ll be sharing lots of pictures of the flower gardens as they are started in the upcoming months.
If you don’t quite want to embark upon beekeeping as a new hobby but want to help bees even more you can buy or make a bee hibernation station or insect hotel to provide ideal habitat for them to hibernate over winter.
There are some lovely designs using brick, dried grasses, hollow tubes of various diameters to accommodate bugs and bees of different sizes.
If you are helping to save the bees with planting or building hibernation stations and would like to be featured on Misfit Gardening I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line on the contact form.