Save The Bees!

31 August 2014 | Posted in Gardening by The Marshalls Family

So what can you do to help to attract bees to your garden or plot?

The answer lies in providing flowers from March to late Oct that Bees and other pollinators like.

If you have a spare patch of bare earth, or between your vegetable rows, sow seeds from March to May. Have a look at your neighbours garden and see which plants are swarming with pollinating insects, then you know what plants to grow as they clearly will work in your soil.

It is well known that flowers use striking colours, fragrances, elaborately shaped petals and nectar to attract pollinating insects.

Bee and Salvia

But research has also shown that moving flowers, on longer stems attract a wider variety of insect species than more static blooms.

Movement is a powerful signal to passing pollinators, allowing the plant to attract more insects than less mobile flowers growing on top of short, thick stems.

Many pure white flowers that are unable to visually attract insects to pollinate them in the wild because there are no contrasting light and dark shades on the petals, rely on a really powerful fragrance to draw the bees and bugs to them to do the job.

Plants like Campanula also have fragrant flowers that attract the bees and look great as border edging or in containers and rock gardens.

Fennel, left to go to seed and wonderfully scented Lavender and Thyme are fragrant enough to attract the bees. Other herbs are also good attractants, and can also help repel pests. Oregano " Country Cream" is a variegated variety that has masses of pretty pink flowers in summer that are loved by bees and butterflies. Basil or borage planted with strawberries will increase pollination and improve the crop yield.

Of course the old favourite, Buddleia, is not called "the butterfly tree" for nothing! For vegetable enthusiasts, grow members of the Allium family, such as - onions and chives, they have nice flowers too and the bees love ‘em!

And you don't have to sacrifice one for the other as vegetables and flowers can grow well alongside each other. Companion plants such as sweet peas climbing up amongst the beans, bring in bees and looks really eye-catching.

The edible garland chrysanthemum, known as Shingiku in Japan and Choy Suy Green in Chinatown, is particularly good to grow with brassicas, as it keeps a lot of pests away, and attracts pollinators. You can use the young foliage in stir fries, and the petals in salads. You can even use it as a cut flower.

As far as possible, go organic! Avoid spraying insecticides when the blossoms are starting to shed their petals, as this will be detrimental to attracting pollinators and beneficial insects.


09 March 2009 - Edward Parker Wrote:

In regard to attracting bees would Rona care to comment on the suitability of the Bumblebee Margin Mix for very poor clay and frequently waterlogged soil. Also, if suitable what quantity of seed would be needed for an area approx 200metres by 100 metres. Many thanks

16 March 2009 - chris Wrote:

Why not try clover, it seems persistent under most conditions and bees love it. You can get seed by the sackful from farmers merchants. You could also try eryngium planum or sea holly from seed as plants are expensive, again loved by bees. A beauty earlier in the year is Veronica Spicata, also very bee friendly.

25 March 2009 - Edward Parker Wrote:

Many thanks Chris, we appreciate your advice

08 April 2009 - Lady Ann Sinclair Wrote:

I would like to thank Rona for sharing her life's work of knowledge with us over this medium of the Internet! It's wonderful to have your advice at the touch of a button.

01 May 2009 - Pam Hill Wrote:

I'm a "newby" to gardening but I'm definitely going to get more wildlife attracting plants in my yard garden! I didnt really realise just HOW MUCH we would loose without bees, and I guess they need all the help they can get at the moment (if you read all the bad news about hive failures), so I'm going to have a go and do my bit- and the plants are pretty too! So, I say- give it a go!!

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