Bee good to your bumble bees, says Cardwell’s gardening expert
PEOPLE with even the smallest of gardens are being urged to do their bit to help save the bees.
Horticulturist Brian Hawthorn, from Cardwell Garden Centre is encouraging gardeners to plant lots of flowering plants after it has been revealed the bee population is in serious decline.
Brian, pictured here, says bees are important to nature as they pollinate flowers, fruit and vegetables as well as arable food crops. Yet many species of bee are now declining following the combination of habitat loss, use of pesticides and climate change.
There are as many as 35 different species of bees in the UK and many of them have already disappeared or are at risk.
Brian says: “There have been many studies into the declining population of bees and how important they are to the natural environment.
“But everyone can do their small bit to save the bees by planting more of the type of flowers and plants that bees need to survive.
“Bees are vital to nature because of the role they play in the seed pollination of flowers, plants and crops.
“We rely on these pollinated seeds for the continuing growth of plants, flowers and cereal crops, which we turn into foodstuffs like bread, or to just enjoy having a garden full of colourful flowers.
“Bees help in the creation of cereals, maize and rice, which are produced through pollination, or the seed produced will be encased in a sweet juicy berry or fruit like raspberries or tomatoes.”
Brian continued: “Most flowering plants are attractive to bees, particularly any varieties that have an abundance of flowers in a small area, like Pyracantha, Photinia, Veronica, Sedums and Salvia or plants with composite flowers such as Dahlias, Senetti, Asters and Sunflowers.
“These flower consist of petals or bracts surrounding a central ‘button’ made up of dozens, sometimes hundreds’ of tiny flowers.
“And at this time of year two of the best flowers to help the bees are lavender and nasturtium.
“Flowers like these produce nectar – a high energy sugary solution that bees use for fuel. The bees also mix some of the nectar with an enzyme produced in their gut which turns it into honey.”
Brian added: “We’ve got lots of different flowers and plants at Cardwell that would be ideal for people to plant and help save the bees.
“Anyone who would like some advice is welcome to come to the garden centre and our staff will give them all the help they need to have a bee-friendly garden.”