WE’RE BUZZING FOR BEES
Please don’t fear the worst. This will be a good news story because even though Britain is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, there are things that we can do to make life better for wildlife - and for us humans too, like planting flowers for bees and butterflies.
After one of the worst years of widespread climate chaos in living memory, most wildlife enthusiast will have noticed that this has also been a sadly depleted summer for bees and butterflies. We don’t really understand why they haven’t shown up here in sunny Dorset, but my wife Sue and I were determined to do what we can to attract them to our patch and if all of us helped them a bit, the world would be a better place.
We do appreciate living in a lovely big garden, creating places for wildlife with a spade, and we didn’t need to spend much cash at all, simply planting in gravel patches or mending old pots, even finding containers that could be filled with compost, peat free of course, then planting them with buzzer friendly plants. Most of these plants were carefully stored perennials from last year and once re-potted and watered, they burst into life in a kaleidoscope of colour. Re-cycled wildlife. Perfect!
During our forty years living here and tending the garden to attract wildlife, we’ve gathered pots one by one, so over time we have lots. But all anyone needs to do is find just one and plant it with a salvia or dahlia and the bees will zoom in, three at a time.
The good news is that you only need one pot to make a positive difference and they don’t even have to be big to attract and feed lots of buzzers.
This little cluster of three inch tall vases, a present from a good friend, is decorated with a fresh group of flower cuttings every couple of days so that, when placed on a table by our garden seat, we can enjoy close encounters with the many winged wonders while sipping tea.
All cosmos are beautiful, attractive to us and the bees and a little packet of seeds provides a garden full of joy.
In our larger pots, salvias such as white ‘whirling butterflies’ and this gorgeous ‘blue butterflies’ thrive.
And dahlia’s such as ‘Bishop of Canterbury’ and ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ prove irresistible to honey and carder bees as they provide a snow storm of pollen and nectar.
Hoverflies are always good value too, especially exotic looking critters such as ‘helophilus pendulum’, sometimes called the ‘footballer’ because of it’s kit!
Devils-bit scabious are an essential plant to have in your pots and gardens and purple loosetrife is a winner for many weeks, providing food for bees and butterflies, including this delightful holly blue.
Of course, every public library in the country is stacked with gardening books filled with gorgeous plants that attract and feed our buzzers and the few examples we have selected and enjoyed here have hardly opened the honey pot of choice.
So, if everyone in your neighbourhood planted just one pot of flowers, our gardens and yards, window sills and dusty corners would be filled with the delightful sound of buzzing insects, forever grateful for our kindness in providing them with pollen and nectar. It needn’t cost the earth because all it needs is some earth, a few seeds and a little patience. And do leave the nettles ... they come free.
So just give it a go. It’s a win, win treat and the bees and butterflies you're helping will make you smile.