Planting for bees and pollinators

Planting for bees and pollinators

by Thomas Keogh on May 24, 2020

Throughout the year at Rathwood's foxes park, we make sure that our bees and other pollinators have a plentiful supply of plants upon which to forage.

In early spring, snowdrops, crocuses and of course blossoming fruit trees offer sought after sweet nectar while in the summer wildflower meadows and pastures rich in sainfoin and clover provide a feast for the bees. In autumn-flowering thistles offer a rich harvest of nectar and help to ensure that the hives are well stocked with honey to see them through the winter months.

Whether you have a spacious garden or just a window box, you can help to provide honey bees and other insect pollinators with a plentiful food source. Here are just a few tips to get you started in providing the ideal habitat for bees and pollinators.

AVOID THE USE OF INSECTICIDES:

it goes without saying that insecticides can be harmful to pollinators. Even products used to treat one’s lawn can be damaging to their environment.

OPT FOR A NATURAL LOOK:

strive to plant a variety of indigenous wildflowers. Pick a corner of the garden that you would be happy to let run a little wild. Sow seed packets of cornflowers, yarrow, cowslips, buttercups and poppies and watch them grow into a beautiful, natural haven for the bees.

ENSURE WATER IS AVAILABLE:

a small barrel in the corner of the garden filled with water will suffice, or alternatively a pond or small birdbath would offer a decorative touch.

MAKE A HOME:

though it might not sound glamorous, an old pile of leaf mulch left alone in a quiet corner of the garden can provide a nesting haven for bumblebees. For a more decorative look, however, try making your own bee box by drilling holes into pieces of wood or tie a small pile of hollow-stemmed twigs together with rope – the small holes provide the perfect home for visiting solitary bees and other species.

Phacelia in bloom in our Market Garden – these beautiful flowers offer a haven for bees while they also provide a fantastic source of vital nitrogen when rotivated back into our organic soil.

The below are some bee-friendly blooms, herbs and vegetables that we suggest planting, not only for the benefit of the bees but for the benefit of your kitchens too:

  • rosemary
  • lavender
  • sage
  • thyme
  • mint
  • fennel
  • chives
  • borage
  • Fuschia
  • poppies
  • geraniums
  • hyssop
  • comfrey
  • calendula
  • clover
  • nasturtiu