Spring and our gardens are awaking from the winter slumber. As flowers start to appear so do the insects and hopefully the bees. Seen as a barometer of the health of our gardens bee numbers are dropping. The reasons are many and varied and disputed by the interested parties.
I am not interested in joining the debate regarding causes but I am interested in helping to prevent the decline. So what can we do? Well firstly get educated about the potential causes of the decline and what measures gardeners can take to encourage bees and the growth of their colonies. Read this by Bayer for one view.
Bees like nectar rich plants. Planting wildlife attracting flowers will create an environment that will attract bees, butterflies and birds. In turn this not only benefits your local bee population but also offers support to other beneficial insects and wild birds creating an attractive and valuable patch of wildlife habitat in your garden.
It’s vital you provide flowers throughout the bee’s life-cycle, from March to September. Nectar rich flowers that flourish in the spring include; bluebell, bugle, crab apple, daffodil, flowering cherry and currant and forget-me-not. Early summer flowers; aquilegia, astilbe, campanula, comfrey, sweet pea, fennel, foxglove, geranium, potentilla, snapdragon, stachys, teasel, thyme, verbascum. Finally late summer; angelica, aster, buddleia, cardoon, cornflower, dahlia (single-flowered), delphinium, eryngium, fuchsia, globe thistle, heather, ivy, lavender, penstemon, scabious, sedum.
The bee is worth supporting so lets get to it.