There has been a lot of commentary lately about bees coming under threat, however, there are a few simple things eveyone can do in their own garden to help bees thrive and ensure they continue to have a place in our ecosystem.
Grow your own ANYTHING
Before we had our three year old daughter we didn't really grow any eat-ables or garden in general. Everything we have done since she arrived has been self - taught, coupled with a bit of good luck. We now have quite a large vegetable garden, which we love, and, thanks to our happy bees, has provided us with lots of fruit and vegetables over the last few years.
When we first began our grow-your-own gardening journey we learnt that even growing a few edible plants is a wonderful thing, and fairly fool-proof. All you need are a few things, including seeds or plants of your choice :
- Natural light
- A pot/cup/garden bed
We started with a few small pots of herbs we used most (parsley, coriander, basil, chives) and a couple of compact vegetables like spinach, spring onions and lettuce). If you’re really keen, a dwarf citrus tree keeps well in a pot on the balcony with 6+ hours of sun a day, and they have beautiful folage too.
The bees really shine and get to their busy work when the plants and herbs shoot out flowers (and seeds) when their fruiting stage is complete (or prior to fruiting) – seeing them buzz around the garden is really a magical thing and you know you are you going to enjoy beautiful fresh produce.
Make your own flower seed bombs
A great way to garden is with kids - our daughter loves the whole messy process involved in gardening and its teaching her skills and providing a wealth of knowledge she can carry with her through out her life. Kids also love creative ways to sow seeds, and flower seed bombs are a fantastic way to introduce kids to gardening.
You will need:
- Air drying clay (available from craft shops)
- Potting mix or compost (borrow some from your existing plants – you only need a couple of tablespoons)
- Flower seeds, especially for the bees! – our favourites are queens anne lace, daisies, sunflowers and hypericum, but you can also use thyme, sage, oregano
Take 5 parts clay, mix 1 part compost/soil and 1 part seed (its ok to mix these up) – add a little water so it comes together – but make sure it's not too sloppy.
Flatten it out so its about 1 cm thick – then let it air dry. They will be ready after a day or two.
If you are quite specific about where you want flowers, simply put the clay flower seed bombs in the ground, just deep enough to be covered by soil.
If you’re not fussed – throw them anywhere and everywhere! You will be surprised how quickly they will grow and fill your garden with colour - a perfect invitation for bees to come into your garden, they will love you for it!
Give them a drink!
Bees also need water, like any other animal they need to keep hydrated.
Help them out by having a bird bath filled up, or a couple of little saucers of fresh water around and between all your plants.
We love our garden and we love bees - they are humble little things, doing such important work which we too often take for granted.