Staring out of the window yesterday on another wet and cold day, didn't make me want to don my wellies and get out into the garden, but the bees need us to help them survive. Springtime is when the foragers will be out flying after the winter months and depending on how much food they have left in their hives will determine how hungry they are. It's a critical time as bees can die of starvation at this time of year if they can't find sufficient food.
When the birds start singing, you know the warmer weather is (hopefully) on its way. During the cold months, the honey bees cluster together in their colonies to keep warm and once they feel the temperature rise, they start to get their beehives in order - housekeeping and maintenance - and the foraging bees take flight to bring back nectar and pollen tot feed the young and replenish their stores.
Getting back to the garden...
Basically, it's bare of bee-friendly plants and I want to help. Well, not totally bare, as there's plants that will bloom later in the year (Buddleia, Teasels, Thistles, variety of herbs, etc) but nothing to help this spring and time is ticking.
So 'Plan Bee' was put into action today. With wellies on, warm coat, garden tools to hand the big dig started in one of the borders. To make it less daunting, I decided to start small and see how I got on. It wasn't long before the coat was off as I warmed up and the border all turned over. A few tea breaks were needed and while on a tea break, a pair of robins came down and grabbed themselves some tasty delights. I do my best to cover worms and other insects up, but I can't save them all!
Four hours later I stood back and admired my morning's work. It was the first step of 'Plan Bee' done. Then it was off to the local garden centre to stock up with bee-friendly plants so I'm ready to invite bees and other insects to come and peruse my garden and hopefully enjoy what they find.
Not all plants are a good source of food for bees, especially those with double blooms. They might look attractive to humans, but the bees aren't able to reach in when foraging. Bees also prefer certain colours, so when out buying flowers for the garden, consider buying plants and shrubs that are clearly labelled bee-friendly.
This is what I came back with:
- Allium - Giganteum - Purple
- Aubrieta - Bressingham Red - Pink
- Aubrieta - Dr Mules Variegata - Purple
- Chaenomeles 'Japanese Quince' - Madam Butterfly - Orange/Pink
- Foxglove - Albino - White
- Foxglove- Exelsilor - White/Pink
- Hebe - Champagne - White
- Hebe - Pinguifolia Pagei - White
- Hebe - Purple Princess - Purple
- Helleborus - Emma - White
- Helleborus - Walberton's Rosemary - Pink
- PrunusM - Kojo No Mai (ornamental cherry) - Pink
- Pulmonaria - Dark Vader - Pink/Blue
- Pulmonaria - Opel - Blue
- Ribes Sanguineum 'Flowering Blackcurrant' - Pink
- Sedum - Autumn Joy - Pink
Not all of these will flower in the springtime, but thought they would be good to buy now so they're well established later in the year.
Now it's time for me to go and plant them and next weekend go back to the garden centre and buy the smaller plants that will fit around these that are flowering now and into March.