September is ‘Bee Awareness’ month, with gardeners encouraged to make a place for bees – those all-important pollinators – in our summer plans.
Our supermarkets would be very different (very empty) without the food pollinated by bees, and even in our modest garden, they have a big role to play. I talked a bit about this (and why we don’t have beehives of our own) last year.
Looking after bees in our garden is relatively straightforward, with three guiding rules:
- Avoid bee-hazardous pesticides
- Provide water and a place for bees to rest
- Plant the kinds of flowers that bees love to visit
Avoiding pesticides is the easy one for us – our ‘no nasties’ gardening regime is naturally bee-friendly.
Similarly, water has been in no short supply for the last 18 months – falling from the sky more often than we would have liked. However with summer (hopefully) coming, we’ll provide bees and other tiny visitors with water in shallow dishes, with some large marbles and stones so bees can land and safely sip at the water’s edge.
The thing which requires us to really prepare are the flowers. One of the lovely people at my day job gave us seeds left over from her wedding, which will provide bees with a feast of nectar (and give us a palette of beautiful colour). We also have a few wildflower seeds from last year, and are planning some specific companion planting of nasturtiums and calendula around our fruit trees.
To encourage bees to travel around our whole garden, we’ll mix flowers throughout the beds – some in with our main vegetables, others nearby, and still more beside the house (where we had wildflowers last year).
Planning and planting is going to keep us buzzy – sorry, busy – for a good couple of days, but as a result, we’ll have happy bees and productive trees (as well as productive vegetables) for summer.