Did you know it’s Bees’ Needs Week?
And their needs really matter these days, so there’s this a big push to get gardeners, farmers and growers to help pollinating insects to survive and thrive. These small, precious creatures are vital for producing food, carrying pollen between flowers as they feed in our own gardens, and on a much wider scale, and they help us maintain the wide variety of plants that we have in this country.
It seems that we can’t just take pollination for granted anymore, we have to take action to make it happen, so Defra [Department for Food, Agriculture & Rural Affairs] have put this simple 5 step plan together:
- Grow more plants that provide nectar and pollen, the thing to aim for is a wide variety of plants that flower through the year.
- Cut your grass less often You can leave a patch of grass longer then the rest and cut it at the end of the summer, you may be surprised how lovely grasses with seed-heads look.
- Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects, there are less likely to be nesting birds in hedges at this time of year, and because it’s not always easy to know exactly where insects are over-wintering, you can make a bug hotel where they’re out of harms way from clippers and strimmers.
- Leave patches of land to grow wild, most of us have a patch tucked away out of sight, I’ve got a little neglected area between the fence and a beech tree in the corner of the garden, so it can officially stay like that.
- Think carefully about whether to use pesticides, especially where pollinators are active or nesting, or where plants are in flower. We’ve gone zero tolerance on this and don’t use any pesticides in the garden. Pesticides seem like a sledgehammer to crack a nut and there are lots of different ways to minimise garden pests.
I like flouncy flowers like those fancy dahlias and frilly, petal-packed roses as much as anyone, but you also need simple shaped flowers that are easy for pollinating insects to get into.
It’s not too difficult to have flowering plants in winter and early spring, these crocus in my garden in February were covered in bees.
I’ve written about how I made a bug hotel for our garden here, it’s a great little project for the summer holidays.
This recent post will help if you want to know more about organic gardening.
Enjoy the rest of the week.
all photos: Jill Anderson.