THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar06

Harlow Beekeepers

Last Thursday night I was invited to give a talk ‘Planting for Pollinators’ at Harlow Bees, a beekeeping group who help promote the craft of keeping bees in Harlow.

It was an interesting evening exploring how two complementary crafts – beekeeping and gardening – co-exist in there similar aims of helping bees (and other pollinators.)

Below are some notes answering questions the group asked me from the talk:

1. The Best Plants For Bees

  • helenium
  • sedum
  • oregano
  • borage
  • veronicastrum
  • teucrium
  • calamint
  • eupatorium
  • centaurea
  • lavender

This research comes from the work done by Rosi Rollings at Rosybee. She has been asking the question ‘which bee-friendly plants attract the most bees?’

You can read why and how she set-up this work in this interview we made with her a few years ago.

2. This is what Helenium, the most valuable plant for bees, looks like…

helenium best plant for bees

It is easy to grow, makes a great cut flower and is beautiful too. Get it into your gardens!

3. Remember the following when choosing flowers for the garden…

Right plant, right place – a happy, healthy plant growing in conditions it enjoys will provide preferred forage for the bees.

Plant in blocks of flowers, so that bees don’t waste energy trying to find another nectar/pollen source.

Get some blossoming trees into your gardener early in the year.

Topiary is easier to look after – a plant like Escallonia is great for clipping but also a bee magnet, so can be left uncut (and so full of flowers) until it grows too large for your garden… then you can easily reduce it down to size and let it start growing again, year on year.

escallonia for bees
Escallonia, a bee magnet

4. Using Pesticides, Herbicides or Insecticides will harm your bees

If your garden flowers are suffering from pest damage, plant trees. These will provide somewhere for birds to visit, who in turn will deal with the bug problem.

No flower is too important or special it needs to be sprayed with a poison to make it look better. Plus, the best flowers for bees normally don’t show the art of the plant breeder – note the Helenium above!

5. Plant organic bulbs

You can read all about that in this blog Organic Bulbs.

Or via John Walker, the Earth Friendly Gardener, in the Telegraph.

We will make an order for Bee Friendly Bulbs in the summer, so will let you know then if you want to buy some!


If you live in and around Harlow and want to know more about bees and beekeeping – why not get in touch with the group?

Jul17

Ivo Graham

Ivo Graham is a comedian. We met him, and some of his family, last year at a Christmas Fair. He bought a gift for his father (a log gobbler, which he thought his dad would find funny….) and in the process of buying it also supported the charity the Christmas Fair was raising money for. He was a lovely chap and laughed a lot. We like that in our customers….! Then lo and behold, here he is, providing 30 minutes of funny on the BBC – check it out: Ivo Graham – Live from the BBC He will also be …

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Jul03

Roses – Another One For People Who Plant For Bees

We are currently writing a book about plants that do a great job of Helping The Honeybee. This means we are always on the lookout for flowers that are attractive to our little, honey making friends. This week we have heard plenty of buzzing coming from: Dead nettle Helenium Alliums Veronicastrum Escallonia Plus we glanced in a magazine and saw a note about bees preferring dark flowers when they forage in the shade. We will research this a little more for you, but worth making a note of and thinking about right now if you have a dark patch of …

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Jul01

Visit To David Austin Roses

Last week Modern Mint took a little time out to visit David Austin Roses. The English roses they have created were still blooming beautifully, though the staff there insisted that, because of the warm weather this spring, we had missed the VERY BEST of the flowers. We don’t think so…. A post shared by ModernMint (@modernmintshop) on Jun 27, 2017 at 6:11am PDT This photo is actually of the trial fields, the roses here are part of the breeding program and are being tested as potential new introductions. So look as close as you like, but you won’t be able …

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