Bee friendly planting
Bees around the world and especially in New Zealand can't survive without our help. September is 'Bee aware month', where a spotlight is shone on these amazing creatures, and the significant role they play in supporting our food chain. The number of bees has been dwindling all over the country, this is due to a number of factors; diseases, misuse of pesticides, loss of habitat and lack of flowers and plants for bees to feed on. Almost a third of global farm output depends on animal pollination, largely by honey bees. Without them, our gardens would be without many of their plants and flowers and our major agri-export industries would be in serious trouble. Everyone can help by encouraging bees back into the garden by planting flowers and plants, being educated on what sprays and chemicals will harm them and looking at alternatives to pesticides that are bee friendly.
What we can all do to help:
- Planting bee friendly gardens, see the list below for ideas. Take note: bees are particularly attracted to these colours: yellow, blue-green, blue and ultraviolet flowers.
- Use bee friendly sprays and use them once bees are back in their hives, after dusk. It is important to refrain from spraying when plants are in flower.
- Bees love the clover and dandelions in your lawn, so don't be to hasty to mow your lawn.
- Eat more organic food. This will help encourage producers to limit the number of pesticides they use on their crops.
- Look into the honey you purchase and make sure it is made by beekeepers who care about the health of their bees and not just about production.
Annual flowers: calendula, marigold, sunflowers, poppies, cosmos, hollyhocks, fox gloves, echium, clover, nasturtiums.
Perennials: comfrey, dahlias, echinacea, geraniums, aquilegia, gladiolus.
Shrubs: Californian lilac, buddleia, echium.
Climbers: honeysuckle, clematis.
Fruit and vegetables: blackberry, cucumbers, pumpkin, courgette.
Herbs: bee balm, borage, coriander, rosemary, thyme.
So if you are thinking about planting in the coming months, keep bees in mind. If you are designing or redesigning your garden make sure you let your designer know that you would like to include planting that encourages bees to visit. The National Beekeepers Association has got a month of exciting events organised, head to their website for more details. If you would like to read more about the global bees crisis head to an informative article by The Telegraph.
Information for this blog was sourced from The National Beekeepers Association and Tui Garden for the list of plants.