Bee friendly garden

We’ve had another busy weekend in the garden here. The weather wasn’t great on Saturday but I got lots done. I had mowed the lawn on Friday so I had plenty of time to work on cleaning up a few things following on from the conservatory build.

I then created a new flower border along the edge of the conservatory and then we made the mistake of going to the garden centre where we ended up spending some money on some plants.

Cherry Tree

Cherry Tree

The imminent arrival of our bees means that our priorities for planting the garden have changed a litte. The herbs, shrubs and perennials in our garden are all fine but they don’t grow particularly large here and so only provide small concentrations of forage for the bees at any one time. What the bees really need is a large source of pollen and nectar in a decent concentration. Unfortunately there just isn’t much of this around here so it’s going to be touch and go as to how well the bees do here.

We are of course doing our best when it comes to planting the garden. Previously we were searching for plants that could withstand the extreme coastal conditions here. This meant wind tolerant plants, plants that would grow in sand and plants that don’t mind a bit of salt air. Some of these are also good for the bees. Herbs like Thyme, Oregano, and Lavendars all tick these boxes and are excellent for the bees. Similarly shrubs like Escallonia, some Coteneasters and Tamarix all fit the bill too. But now that we’ve planted these and have created some shelter in the garden we are starting to get a little bit more adventurous.

The overall plan is to create a nice looking garden that can cope with the conditions here but that also includes plenty of native plants for the wildlife and contains a wide variety of forage plants for the bees throughout the seasons. Not too much to ask!

I’ve also decided that we need a little bit more height in the garden to create a little more interest and ‘dynamism’, especially now that the Cordyline has gone. This means trees and bee friendly trees mean fruit trees. Trees don’t normally do too well, in fact, other than a few stunted pine trees and more stunted willow and poplars there aren’t really any trees anywhere on this little windswept peninsula of ours. That won’t stop us from trying though so along with some perennials we bought a little Cherry Tree. It’s looking good in the garden already, but only time will tell how well it copes here. We’ll hopefully add an apple tree and damson tree soon as well.

We also planted some Verbena that the bees should love, some catmint in the new border by the conservatory, an impressive looking Rudbeckia and a new Spiraea with little white flowers that will hopefully provide a little more shelter in the garden and again keep the bees happy. We’ve even bought a little Skimmia and will see if we can get that to survive by treating it to plenty of ericaceous compost.

The garden is looking nice and with a little more effort may help support our bees.

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

4 Responses

  1. Thursday, May 12th, 2011

    […] we’ve been planning to keep honey bees, we’ve also been trying to make the garden as bee-friendly as possible. The idea was to plant bee-friendly plants, but still keep the garden looking nice. We wanted it to […]

  2. Thursday, June 30th, 2011

    […] self-seeds all over the place. On top of that it is supposed to be disliked by bees so not ideal in bee-friendly garden. It does look nice at times though and grows better than most things so rather than eradicate it […]

  3. Monday, April 23rd, 2012

    […] so far this month, but the April showers have been working wonders and things are growing well. The cherry tree is just about coming into blossom, we’ve been feeding well on the purple sprouting brocolli, […]

  4. Monday, May 21st, 2012

    […] bees making the most of the sunshine whilst I was out there. Despite out best efforts at creating a bee-friendly garden and having 3 hives of honey bees at the bottom of it we don’t actually see that many bees on […]

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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