Thursday, 16 February 2012

What about Bees?

Now that we have a garden of our own, 'husband' and I have been keen to introduce as much wildlife friendly 'stuff' as we can. Hence over the last year or two, bird nest boxes, feeders and nectar rich plants have all made their way into our patch. The nest box has been particularly successful with Bluetits moving in each Spring. This week, I have been getting out into the garden to get on with those jobs that I always put off but eventually get around to. As the sun was out and the day felt warm, many birds and insects were out and about too. Noticing a bee on an early flowering clematis, it got me thinking about how I could do more to intice pollinating insects into the garden. 

Reading more, I was astonished to discover that here in Britain we have 25 species of bumblebee, with some becoming near to endangered. I have also been watching Sarah Raven's excellent 3 part series Bees, Butterflies and Blooms in which she tackles the need to plant more pollinator friendly plants and flowers in our gardens, parks, towns and cities. The RHS have supported the initiave, and have introduced a new logo for use on plants sold in nurseries and garden centres that are particularly good for bees and other pollinators such as hoverflies.

The RHS Perfect for Poilinators logo
Printed onto seed packets of plants that attract wildlife

This week, fellow blogger Valerie Littlewood at Pencil and Leaf posted a fab introduction on Hoverflies, after she had been to the Natural History Museum on one of their day courses. Her passion and enthusiam for bees is infectious and I adore her bee-themed art. I have been suitably galvanised to get on with it and plans are forming.

So, this year I will be out in the garden a lot more planting and sowing seeds to help our little garden friends. Apparantly pollinating insects like open, single blooms where the pollen is easy to get at. Lillies, single Dahlias, Cosmos, Lavender, Pot Marigolds and Foxgloves are all excellent. To really put the point into perspective is the fact that the amount of sugars available to a bee in a flower can actually be higher in content than that of jam. Gosh, really!!

Lots to do but to begin with, this little lot should keep them all happy. Fingers crossed, I will get lots more tomatoes and apples too.

Spanish Bluebells, but the bees don't mind

Single Clematis, Montana 'Tetrarose'

Bees love Rosa 'Golden Wings'
Hoverflies prefer yellow flowers for some reason

Short lived but loads of pollen, Day Lillies spring
up all round our garden

No idea what this is but the bees love it!

My lovely Bramley's

 Mind you with all this gardening, I might forget to get some painting done. 



Rebecca said...

Beautiful pictures and such wonderful information. I am really longing for spring after seeing these great photos. I will have to make a note of some of the bee-friendly plants you suggested. I especially like planting vines and flowers that attract interesting visitors to the garden...;)... Do you grow evening primrose or moonflower vine? Both seem to attract the hummingbird moth so that's always a treat to see.

Claire said...

A subject very close to my heart,the lack of wildflower meadows now is very sad.. this year I'm sowing a wild flower area-be nice to have a bigger garden though!
Lovely post xxx

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Hi Rebecca, I'm afrais I cannot take any credit for the pictures but dad always makes sure I have plenty for my album. I don't have any of either of those plants but we are on the lookout for new candidates :)

Good luck Claire with your wildflower area. Even a little spot helps so we will have to keep each other updated with our progress :)

Barbra Joan said...

I wanted you to know that I love visiting this blog. Your flowers, your paintings and information on both are wonderful.
Thanks so much for your comment on blog and your encouragement for the upcoming show. BJ

Hedera said...

A lovely, interesting post and pics. I look forward to more of your garden updates :)

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Hi BJ, that's ok, I love supporting other bloggers, we can all do with the boost.

Hi Hedera, I will certainly try to keep a few updates on how the garden grows, (so to speak).