I had a facebook message from a friend of mine who runs a very ‘green’ site and asked me to contribute something about planting flowers for bees. Here’s what I wrote:

Chris Slade comments:
“Apart from H20, in absence or excess, the chemical that has had the most deleterious effect on pollinators is probably Round Up. This means that absolutely nothing grows in fields except that planted by the farmer, leaving nothing for the pollinating insects to feed on and, a step up the food chain, nothing for insectivorous birds. Last year I saw more swallows in 2 days in Co. Galway than all summer in Dorset, but there are a few more here this year.

What can YOU do? Unless you’re into bowls, turn your lawn into a wild flower meadow. Plant your borders and beds with a range of flowers that will feed bees for most of the year as well as looking good and providing some tasty food for you. Dandelions, ivy, thistles, borage, rosebay willow herb, lavender, sage, berried fruit of all sorts, sallies (willow) of several sorts, Himalayan Balsam (the last one is frowned upon by the Authorities but beloved by beekeepers).

You have no garden? Then do some subversive gardening. Get some clay, plaster of Paris, plasticine, dough or whatever you can find or devise that will roll into balls and to which seeds will stick. Boys may have a catapult that you can use; girls may find it more ladylike to carry a scarf, shawl or stocking that can, when nobody’s looking, be used as a sling! Go for a walk and fire or hurl your seeded balls into places where you perceive a need for more flowers. Then, on future walks, you can monitor progress, noting which seeds do best in your area using that method so you can adapt your mix next time.

Have a care and use your common sense where to do this. Imagine that somebody’s doing it to YOUR ground and think how you’d feel about being on the receiving end.”
August 8, 2012 a 10:21 am


About chrissladesbeeblog

I have been keeping bees since 1978 and currently have about a dozen hives. I am a member of the BBKA where for many years I represented Dorset at the Annual Delegates' Meeting. I am the co-author (with Dave MacFawn of of S. Carolina) of "Getting the Best from Your Bees" and am working on a book of my own poems : "Bee People".
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6 Responses to NOT JUST MY OWN BLOG!

  1. Thanks Chris! We’ve added your fantastic advise to the Dorset Energized blog post on Bees here:

  2. Margaret Johnson says:

    I would recommend for those of us in cities to wait for the council sprayers to do around the lamp posts in the area wait a few weeks and sprinkle wildflower seeds around the lamp post where the mowers don’t reach. Other places to sprinkle a mixture are public woodland beside the paths where there is more light filtering through the trees.

  3. Margaret Johnson says:

    Incidentally, the reason Himalayan Balsam is hated by local authorities is it chokes up drainage channels and small streams very quickly, resulting in flooding of areas that have been previously well drained. Because it grows alongside watercourses it is not possible to control with weed killer as that would contaminate the water and kill other foliage that is not so invasive as well as wildlife dependent on the water. So though it is beloved by bee keepers it is important to make sure we do not add to the local authority problems by spreading this admittedly visually and for bees attractive plant. Much better to seed those plants that flower early in the year so that foraging bees in spring have something to go out for and do not exhaust themselves for no reward.

  4. Marcia says:

    I really agree with your comments Chris, like the UK, here in NZ so much of the pollinating insects habitat has been destroyed, acres of grass planted with roundup and other nasties sprayed everywhere. Our small country relies on honey bee pollination for so much of our exports,yet not alot is being done to stop the over-all destruction !
    I teach beekeeping and run workshops, I am a natural, urban bee carer determined to make a difference !
    I am really enjoying your posts, I am working towards being in the UK this time next year for 6 weeks, attending the Natural Beekeeping Conference if it runs again and would like to attend the Irish course also.

  5. Marcia: book early for Gormanston, especially if you want an en suite room. Simon Rees has just set up a facebook group : Beekeepers of Ireland on which we have been posting our photographs.

  6. I counted 6 species of insect including honeybees and 2 sorts of bumble bee on my Globe Thistle: Echinops sphaerocephalus, yesterday.

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