Get your gardening gloves on ready for those bee friendly plants!
World Bee Day runs on the 20th May 2023. This is an international day organised by the United Nations. The aim is to raise awareness about the importance of bees in our ecosystems and strengthen global efforts to preserve them.
But what’s all the buzz about?
Bees do more than just make honey.
In fact, they’re one of the most important pollinators due to the major role they play in our food supply. Their pollination is critical to the reproduction of crops that end up on our plates.
For example, the UN states that more than 90% of the world’s plant species and 75% of our agriculture depends on animal pollination.
Some of the most important foods honey bees alone pollenate include:
However, bees are under threat.
Factors such as climate change, pesticide use and intense farming activity mean they’re dying out at an alarming rate. Without bees, our food security could soon be in danger.
But there’s still hope!
A recommended way to get involved is to put bee friendly plants in your garden.
So we’ve put together a mix of herbs, flowers, shrubs and wild bee friendly plants for you to choose from that they will absolutely love.
Pollinators want flowers full of nectar and pollen, and hollyhock has those things in spades! It comes in many colours, which is also perfect for attracting bees!
In fact, it’s a very popular summer flower as they attract birds and butterflies as well.
The best time to plant hollyhock is in spring or autumn. Simply sow the seeds in fertile and well drained soil, and make sure that it’s in the sun once it blooms.
Hollyhock can grow up to 2 metres, so it’s recommended not to plant it in pots.
It’s quite straightforward to take care of, but be sure to watch out for hollyhock rust!
Bees and lavender are simply a match made in heaven.
Bees have bad eyesight, so the strong scent of lavender means they can rely on their smell to find them from miles away.
Lavender is also rich in nectar, although not as much as the hollyhock plant. So, though bees adore lavender, be sure not to plant too much so that they get some variety.
You’ll attract different types of bees with this popular plant in your garden. Research shows that bumble bees are more attracted to lavender, whereas honey bees prefer forage.
Lavender likes to be in the sun and dry soil to survive. It’ll also need regular watering, especially if you want to plant it in containers.
Ivy doesn’t have the best reputation.
It can sometimes grow out of control and it’s not the most beautiful plant to look at.
But to bees, ivy can do no wrong. After all, it’s rich in nectar!
In fact there’s even a species called the Ivy bee which depends on the Ivy plant for it’s nectar. How interesting is that!
Ivy is perfect for the colder months and it’s always good to get plants that can keep bees happy all year round. It’s also quite happy to grow anywhere as it’s a very tough plant and can take care of itself. Don’t listen to the naysayers, this plant is largely misunderstood and has a lot to offer your garden besides helping out the bees. Get to know ivy a little better by reading this article from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Let’s mix it up a little bit and plant a bee loving herb!
Chive is a perennial plant, which means it will grow back year after year. It doesn’t really need the sun as much as other plants, but it’s better to grow chive from the ground instead of in pots.
Chive is a great example of making the most out of your garden. It’s pretty, great for wildlife and perfect for your cooking!
In fact, we’ve got same great articles on making the most out of the ingredients right on your doorstep. Have a look at our article on eco-friendly recipes if you’d like some delicious ideas!
The yarrow plant has historically been used to heal wounds and infections.
Also referred to as Achillea , according to mythology it’s been used by Greek hero Achilles to treat wounds after battle.
Their broad flat shape means it’s very easy for pollinators to access their nectar. Whilst they can tolerate partial shade, they prefer sunlight and warmer conditions. However, be sure not to overwater this plant as this may cause rotting on the roots.
Where to buy all these bee friendly plants?
After reading this, you might be tempted to head to the supermarket to get these lovely plants.
But why not support your local garden centre instead?
You won’t need to go far to get pesticide free plants at competitive prices that wildlife will love. Here’s a few places in Oxford you can head to straight away:
- Cassington Nurseries, Witney, OX29 4DY
- Great for herbs, perennial plants and compost items.
- Chilton garden centre, Didcot, OX11 0QN
- A well established family run garden centre with knowledgeable staff on hand and a wide range of gardening tools.
- Charlton Park Garden centre, Wantage, OX12 8EP
- An independent centre with lots of variety and room for personal choice.
Watch your garden come to life with these lovely plants. After all, it’s all towards saving the environment.
Speaking of which, we’ve got lots of great tips on how to be more eco-friendly using local resources. You can start with our quick and easy guide to permaculture.