19 Jul 2015

Pollinator Awareness Week


Hoverfly on Linaria leaf


While I'm on the subject of bees (last post), I've picked up lots of tweeting in the past few days about it being Pollinator Awareness Week.  I would probably have missed this if not for the Twitterati so am overdue for a bit of an awareness boost.

While we all know that our summer crops would be dismal without help from pollinators and that it's essential in spring to tempt bees towards the fleeting blossom on our fruit trees, what can we do to attract bees into our gardens all year round and, more importantly, keep them there?

Veg and allotment gardeners provide rich summer feeding grounds with the flowers of annuals such as broad beans, peas, climbing beans, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, redcurrants, all the berry bushes, asparagus, artichokes, fruit trees and herb flowers.  Comfrey is a spectacular bee magnet and worth growing to have a very useful plant fertiliser to hand.  And if, like me, you find your autumn sown carrots bolting into flower - leave them! Carrots belong in the Apiaceae plant family, so named for their affinity with bees (Latin name - apis).

I found a very good page on the RHS website with downloadable leaflets of what can be planted to make sure there's plenty of insect food in your garden from wintery-spring right through to late autumn.  Even if you only squeeze a few of these plants into your garden, it will be a case of, as they say, "every little helps".  I won't repeat what the RHS writes - the link is here.  

I like to think that I'm a pollinator friendly kind of gal so, for a bit of fun, I traipsed down to the garden to see how many boxes I could tick. Here's a few of them in flower today:

How many can you guess? Answers at post end.

The RHS lists have made me think about moving some of my plants around - replacing some of the poorly fruiting strawberries with Sweet Woodruff and planting more snowdrops, tulips, hellebores and forget-me-nots for springtime and Erigeron (fleabane) for summer.

It's fairly blowy day here so it was interesting trying to get photos - speed rather than aperture being of the essence.  It didn't take too long (I stopped to gather a few bits for lunch) but nearly every plant I stopped at was attracting bees.  My halo is shining.

A garden friend, if not exactly a pollinator. Couldn't resist.


Grid Quiz answers! 

From left to right, top to bottom:
Allium, Echinacea, Linaria, Perovskia, tomato
Phlox paniculata, Eryngium, Blackcurrant sage, Achillea, Mange tout
Bupthalmum salicifolium, Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve', Borage, Scabious, Fennel
Comfrey, Sedum Thundercloud, Honeysuckle, Sweet William, Sweet Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Cosmos, Lavender, Nasturtium, Thyme, Calendula




With that picture grid above, I'm also linking to Carol's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for July.

16 comments:

  1. I like to think I'm pollinator friendly too. It;s certainly a consideration when planting a border etc,

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    1. Definitely, Sue. And it helps to know what to choose before buying. I often have to check before I buy as not all pretty flowers are bee friendly.

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  2. Gorgeous flower photos, you're looking after the pollinators in your neck of the woods I think. CJ xx

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    1. Thanks, CJ - and there's lots more that I could have covered (Cirsium, hebe, etc) but that would just be showing off! :o) x

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  3. Thanks for the prompt about pollination Awareness Week. I was pleased to see I had many of the same plants and there's lots of bee activity on and around..

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    1. As I went into the garden yesterday to continue tidying up, I actually wondered if I would get stung at some point - there are so many bees buzzing! It's good to have a checklist of the best plants before filling any gaps in the borders.

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  4. I'm making inroads in having more pollinating plants in the garden, apart from a couple of peonies that's all I plan to have. I shall have a look at that page you suggested, I'm sure it will help me in my quest x

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    1. I hope so, Jo. I found the lists quite surprising in the variety of quite commonplace flowers that are pollinator friendly. I also liked that one of the lists covered all the seasons - so hard to know what to put in place for the drabber months. x

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  5. An interesting, and informative, post along with wonderful pictures. Nearly everything that I grow on the plot is pollinator friendly as shown by the numbers of bees, hoverflies, etc. that I see. Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you, Flighty - I always enjoy seeing your photos of the wildlife that visit your plot. You're an inspiration to us all! x

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  6. How lovely to hear that you have such a bee/pollinator friendly garden! And so your halo deserves to shine, our bees need all the help they can get! I planted extra spring bulbs/plants for the bees last spring and it really worked, the garden was a mass of bees!xxx

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    1. Aww thanks, Dina. I did the same with my tulips, hoping that it would work to bring bees in to pollinate the fruit trees and yes! it did! This year, I'll be adding more spring bulbs wherever I can find a space for them and have lots of alliums to go in as well. Bee central here next year!

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  7. oh to see all that colour right now, I could cry! we are in the depths of winter and there is not much colour in my garden, and it does make me sad. so thank you! I can't wait for spring, and growing some bee-attracting flowers.

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    1. We'll be there soon enough, I think - although late summer does seem to burst with colour here, just before everything dies off for winter. Still, if we didn't have the drabness of winter, we wouldn't appreciate summer so much! Glad to bring some colour into your life - I'm sure you'll return the favour in a few months!!

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  8. A wonderful group of pollinating plants. I'm glad to say most of these are in our garden too. Sarah x

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    1. Excellent! They're mostly really pretty plants that are easy to grow so nice to know that they serve a dual purpose. x

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