A friend was reading my BBKA News (I don’t have time to myself!) and pointed out an article on Trees for Bees with a picture and caption of Eleagnus angustifolia, the oleaster or wild olive. That rang bells with me and so I looked it up on the internet, finding that there was a stockist at a garden centre only a few miles from me and at a price I could afford (if I didn’t have to pay postage!), £2.50.
Before heading off that way into the strange county of Somerset I checked for geocaches in the area and found a few close by so I transferred their location into my gps which told me the first one was only 17 miles as the crow flies from home.
I found my way by electronic means along country lanes near South Chard. I couldn’t remember the name of the company so, when the gps told me that I had arrived at my destination and there was a sign saying ‘Plant Centre’, in I went. Wrong sort of plant! The chap who emerged from a shed told me it was the place next door. So I went out, turned left and there was a sign for ‘Bee Happy Plants’ which was the name I couldn’t remember.
Most garden centres have a larger car park than garden area, but this was not the case here! Having backed and filled with a delivery van I parked in the turning space on the drive and we strolled along past a polytunnel to be greeted by some dogs by a mobile home. A lady came and called them off, shutting the trouble makers inside. We explained our errand and then began a very affable and pleasant natter about bees and flowers whilst meandering among trays of plantlets being laid out by her team.
Besides eleagnus, we also left with salvia (sage), agastrache, echium vulgare (viper’s bugloss), hyssop, leptospermum, rhodiola, perorskia and minardo fistulosa.I haven’t heard of most of these although I am familiar with the echium which grows wild on Portland.
Sarah, the owner, told us that, although fascinated by and concerned for bees, she doesn’t have the time to keep them herself as just growing plants for them is a full time job. Hmmm… I wonder whether she’d like me to park a top bar hive there next year. I’m sure to go there again so maybe I’ll make the suggestion. I keep bees further away from home than she is.
We drove home in a leisurely way, bagging some geocaches en route. Then I picked up the BBKA News and read the article fully. Only then did I notice that it had been written by Sarah! If you want to find out more, visit her website: http://www.beehappyplants.co.uk