“Bees account for one in every three mouthfuls of food we consume every day.”
The bee population is declining at an alarming rate worldwide. Why is this important? Because, bees play an incredibly important role in our ecosystem. Honey bees, both wild and domestic, are responsible for about 80% of all pollination worldwide. A single colony can pollinate 300 million flowers every day. Although grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, the bees pollinate the majority of fruits, nuts and vegetables. Without them, these food groups would cease to exist. Bees pollinate seventy (out of the top 100) human food crops, this equates to about 90% of the world’s nutrition. Hence, bees are incredibly important and we depend on them for survival.
This year, bees have had a tough start to the summer. A late, wet spring followed by April showers meant living conditions were difficult for insects in the garden (with the exception of slugs). On the other hand, the recent warm weather has encouraged growth of many summer flowering shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants. Now is an ideal time to continue this growth, by planting summer flowering shrubs, cottage garden flowers and patio flowers. During the months of July and August you can sow a wide variety of flowering plants from seed. The soil temperatures are ideal for fast germination of a wide variety of flowering seeds including Wallflowers, Pansies, Violas and Double Daisies.
What Do Bees Do?
Bees and plants have a symbiotic relationship. Bees help plants to pollinate their seed, allowing a plant to reproduce. Whilst a bee receives nectar which they then give to their larvae (baby bee) as a source of energy. The bee also uses the nectar to make honey.
How Do I Attract Bees To My Garden?
- Plant flowers that flower at different times of the year.
- Plant a variety of flowers.
- Early spring, early summer and autumn are important times to plant flowers.
- Plant flowers that are rich in pollen and nectar.
- Flowering trees offer an abundance of pollen and nectar.
- Anise Hyssop – a top nectar producing plant.
- Artichoke – produces nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies. If planted now it will flower in August/September.
- Borage – a top nectar and pollen producing annual herb.
- Butterfly Bush – wonderful for bees and butterflies and easy to grow.
- Catmint – produces pollen and nectar that is particularly attractive to honeybees.
- Cheiranthus – plant wallflower seeds now to bloom next spring.
- Cotoneaster – small, white flowers followed by rich, red berries.
- English Lavender – among the flowers most attractive to bees.
- Goldenrod – abundant in nectar and pollen.
- Hebe – attracts bees when in flower.
- Lacy Phacelia – rich in both pollen and nectar, flowers for a long period and is easy to grow.
- Mallow – easy to grow and rich in flowers.
- Sunflowers – nectar rich plant, best planted in groups.
- Valerian – sweetly scented flowers that attract bees.
- Wild Oregano or Marjoram – one of the best of all plants for attracting bees, butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.
Do you have questions about bees? If so, just contact your local store where one of our helpful and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.