|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.