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Bees please!

gardening

Bees please!

words by
kristee semmler // the barossa nursery

Bees are arguably the most important species on Earth.

They are responsible for the pollination of the vast majority of our food crops and while there are other pollinators out there (e.g. birds, bats, wind, other insects) bees are responsible for up to 70% of the world’s 100 food crop species.

Without bees our food supply would suffer terribly and be a whole lot less varied and no doubt prices would rise dramatically with decreased availability.

Not to mention the flow on effect this would have on other species that also rely on bees as pollinators.

All over the world bee populations are dwindling and dying off at alarming rates, making it more important now than ever to save these little heroes who do so much for us in terms of food production.

We can all do our little bit to help bees, especially if you have a garden.

Bees will travel up to five kilometres for their food.

Therefore planting an array of flowers (and lots of them) that flower throughout the year will help provide wandering bees with a reliable source of pollen and nectar. 

 

Some of the best bee attracting flowers are the following:

Lavender

Long flowering and rich in pollen and nectar make these plants very attractive to bees, especially English lavender varieties.

Salvias

A great plant for our local conditions, salvias get covered in bee attracting flowers and are available in a great range of colours and heights to suit any garden.

Flowering gums, bottlebrush and melaleucas

A great source of food for bees, especially native bees.

Rosemary

A great and useful herb in cooking, but also loved by bees when in flower.

Flowering thyme

Another great herb to have in the garden for cooking anyway, but even better knowing bees just love the flowers.

Roses

Especially single or semi-double varieties, bees are very attracted to their pollen rich stamens.

Clover

Yes, some people may consider this a weed in their lawns, but clover flowers really do attract bees well and have the added benefit of being nitrogen fixing (just be sure to wear shoes when walking on lawns with flowering clover!)

Rosemary

It is so important to have bees around for fruit trees and vegetables to pollinate the flowers as without them the fruit won’t set well and you will get a reduced yield.

Planting bee attracting flowers in and around orchards and vegetable gardens makes a huge difference in the amount
of ‘fruit’ you get, plus it always looks pretty having flowers interspersed.

It is also very important, especially over summer months, to provide a constant source of water for bees.

Very shallow dishes of water or placing a rock in a birdbath which gives bees something to land on will help keep them hydrated in hot weather and also attract them into the garden.

In the past bees have had a bit of bad stigma because they can sting when stepped on, but they really are one of the most important things nature has provided for us.

Let’s all do our part and look after these little guys who do so much for us.

Starting in your own garden – and let’s face it, who doesn’t love flowers in the garden?

Happy gardening!

Kristee Semmler

THE BAROSSA NURSERY

If you have any good gardening old wive’s tales, feel free to share them by leaving a comment online on the Barossa Mag’s website.

I do love hearing a good tale! 

In the meantime, happy gardening!