It’s a sad state of affairs, but with global warming at an all-time high, studies show that bees are on the verge of extinction. Because of the importance of pollination, bees actually aid our existence on planet earth. It goes without saying that bees are essential species both for our planet as well as food crops – they are a vital part of the ecosystem and losing them entirely would have devastating effects.
With all of this in mind, creating a garden that is bee-friendly is absolutely vital to support their survival. But how exactly can you go about making your garden a safe space for the bee colony? How can we do our bit to save the bees?
For a start, you can take steps in making your garden bee-friendly by avoiding the use of pesticides and planting anything that attracts bees as these can be highly dangerous and poisonous. You should also consider putting out small bowls or containers of water to help keep them hydrated on hot days.
Because bees are natural pollinators, creating a bee-friendly garden means that you could potentially have access to delicious organic raw honey on tap. Another key factor as to why bees are important for your garden is because of their natural pollination abilities.
These remarkable abilities foster the growth of more plants and flowers in your garden, which can really help your garden to bloom into a colourful and exotic outdoor space. And what’s even better is that pollen and nectar are rich in nutrients, including sugar, which acts as an excellent energy source for the fluffy insects.
The sugar contained in the nectar is also used during the natural honey-making process, and then pollen from flowers is used as food by the rest of the bees in the hive. During the collection of the nectar, the bees move from one flower to another, allowing for cross-pollination to take place.
As a result, flowers produce more seeds, which increases the number of plants and flowers in your bee-friendly garden.
One of the most common questions people ponder is, “where is honey from”? A worker honeybee collects pollen from the flowers on the plants when the temperatures rise favourably, especially during summer or spring, which is also known as foraging.
Also known as nectar, raw honey is collected by bees nearby to the hive, and once they have gathered enough, it is transported into the hive. During the collection of the nectar, bees secrete enzymes through glands in their mouths, which is mixed with the nectar to start the honey-making process.
At the beehive, nectar is collected and created into a honeycomb shape that is made out of wax that comes from the bees themselves. These interesting honeycombs have unique hexagonal shapes and provide storage for the collected nectar.
Fun fact: did you know that after the bee deposits the nectar, it flaps its wings vigorously?
This is because the nectar has a high-water percentage from the plants or flowers that it has been collected from and so the bee’s “fan” themselves to get rid of the excess water.
There are several cheap gardening ideas that will inspire bees to come to your lovely garden. The use of pot plants and using organic fertilizers create a perfect haven for honeybees in your garden.
Some of the best plants to grow in your garden that attract bees (and butterflies) include:
Lilacs emit beautiful and natural fragrances that draw bees to your garden. These plants flourish best under sunlight and require space to grow. If you have a large space, lilacs are great options as they eventually grow into thick and luxurious bushes.
Bees love lavender, and it looks excellent in pot plants and flowerbeds.
Oregano is useful both at home and for the bees. Growing oregano in your garden aids pollination and can be used to create flavour in tasty meals.
The beautiful scent emitted by honeysuckle makes it very attractive to honeybees. Honeysuckle comes in different varieties and depending on the amount of space you have, you can choose from the bush or climber variety.
Clovers are large flowers that exquisitely blend into your garden and perfect for bee pollination activities.
Summer or Spring? When is the Best Time to Plant A Bee Friendly Garden?
Flowers and plants act as food sources for bees during all times of the year, but most importantly, during winter, when food is difficult to source. During the cold seasons, bees feed on the honey in the honeycombs.
But as the temperatures begin to rise in the summer months, bees get ready for the foraging process. To facilitate this process, you should consider planting flowers that bloom or produce flowers during early spring up to late fall.
Different flowers have different blooming times and having both varieties in your garden ensure that the bees have enough nectar sources before it gets cold again.
Local honey is usually used as a treatment option for hay fever. But of course, there are many other benefits of raw honey, including cold and flu relief. Local honey does not have the pollen grains that activate allergic reactions. You can get the honey from a bee gardening centre near you, or you can convert your garden into a bee-friendly farm with our top tips listed above.
Bee-friendly gardens have become quite popular as people take up the initiative of saving bee populations. You can make your garden more bee-friendly by using organic fertilizers and avoiding heavy pesticides. Planting flowers that attract bees is easy as no special gardening techniques are needed.
Flowers or seeds can be bought from gardening centres nationwide. Alternatively, if you don’t have a garden or space to grow flowers and help bees to thrive, consider visiting a local honey farm near you and grab yourself a jar of organic raw honey.
Beautifully Delicate - Wendy Lamb
This honey was beautifully smooth with a delicate, subtle flavour. So much nicer than any others I've tried. It is a bit expensive for the size of the jar but well worth the price for something this delicious with all the health benefits of raw, unprocessed honey. I will be buying more!
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