THE MODERN MINT BLOG
When choosing bee friendly plants the key ideas to look out for are:
1) Grow plants that are nectar rich and full of pollen. (So stay clear of overbred double flowers…)
2) Provide a number of flower shapes – flat disks and tubular flowers are great.
3) Plant in blocks – bees, being oh so efficient, want to fly to one spot and pick up as much nectar as possible. Don’t ask them to work hard, group your flowers together.
We interviewed nursery woman Rosybee about the top 5 plants for bees. She said,
“… borage, phacelia and echium are all fab and I would probably put in my top 10 – which I will not finalise until I have more empirical evidence. Interestingly those 3 are all from the same plant family and all have the trick of renewing their nectar throughout the day where most plants are dry by lunch-time.”
Think big as well when choosing bee friendly plants – trees are a fantastic way to provide nectar and pollen in abundance! Lime, sweet chestnut and sycamore should be on your list if you have the room (we know that putting in a sycamore will leave you with lots of little seedlings around the garden, but they die out when they don’t get enough moisture… so those of you who live near Modern Mint in Essex shouldn’t have a problem!)
Last of all, try and provide enough shelter so bees can travel (no wind tunnels), steer clear of pesticides (there are alternative ways of thinking) and plant so that something is flowering all year round – Mahonia early in the year will be a fine food source, as will Ivy later in the year.
Plants for Bees:
(A lot of these are in Dan Pearson’s ‘Must-Have Plants’…)
Do check out these books on beekeeping too – you may find with a bit more information you are a natural…
We are fans of effective microbes, and use the in our topiary work. They help keep plants healthy, meaning the plants have more tools in their toolbox and energy in their lives to stave off any diseases. Here is a lovely article that tells you how to make your own microbes. Right at the end. Make Your Own Microbes
Boxwood is one of our absolute favourite plants. The evergreen leaf that shines in winter, the smell as you clip it, the brilliant shapes you can make from it… but it is suffering somewhat from two major problems: Box Blight Boxwood Caterpillar and Moth None of this is the be all and end all for boxwood, but it helps to be aware of it and know a little about what you can do should either of these problems arise. Boxwood Caterpillar & Moth I hadn’t seen this in a garden I worked on until this spring, when a client I …
Last weekend I visited the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, to take part in an orchard design course they were running. Beautiful place and a warm day, I recommend a visit. I came home with 3 bottles of cider. Drank them all. Then realised they were weighing in at 8%. I don’t recover that quickly (no longer being 20 years old) and so had something of a musty head the next morning. The power of apples I say! Below are some notes I made from the day. They may be of use to you, although really they are there for …