Bee and Butterfly Numbers are Declining.
We can all help
We all need to sit up and take note, as this is an issue that has repercussions on us all. Without the insects pollinating the plants across the globe our food security is at risk. Scientists the world over are investigating why insects, who are vital to the production of fruits and vegetables, are in crisis.
For an informative take on the subject look out for 'Bees, Butterflies and Blooms' with Sarah Raven. The series begins (tonight) Wednesday 8th February on BBC 2 at 8pm.
As we look out of our windows on to our grey(white!) dank February gardens, we should plan how, this year, we can make our gardens more pollinator friendly, and in some cases, you will have less work in your garden! Surely, that will motivate you! If we all do something, the effect on the insects could be huge! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Plants you should consider growing that will attract the insects are the well known ones like lavender. Easy to grow and not demanding, in fact they prefer a poor soil! The thought of the scent and the hum of the bees in summer should be enough to get you excited! Buddleias are attractive to butterflies in particular. Then consider any flowers that are single with a central 'boss' in the middle. Single dahlias are available everywhere nowadays and will add a touch of fashionable colour to your borders or containers. Daisies and asters will also attract the insects.
- Give your lawn a chance to provide clover and daisy flowers by resisting mowing quite so often. Now that should make for a more relaxing summer!
- Do not use insecticides and herbicides.
- Flowers like foxgloves give the bees a nice 'ladder' of flowers to climb reducing their 'air miles'.
- Increase the number of bee and butterfly friendly plants in the months of July and August, as research has shown that it is in these months, that the bees become increasingly exhausted searching for nectar.
- It does not occur to us to provide water for insects as well as the birdlife in our gardens, but they do need it, so provide a shallow and sloping bowl for easy access. Or if you are feeling ambitious, build a pond. It will attract no end of wildlife.
- Allow an area of wild grasses and flowers to grow freely. You can even just use a large container and add some wild flower seeds which will be attractive to the pollinators. Get children involved.
Finally, do not be too fastidious in keeping a tidy garden. Organise a simple area of ivy, fallen wood, nettles, and brambles, if you have room. This will provide the ideal habitat for the insects to populate.
Log on to www.rhs.org.uk to download their informative list of 'Perfect for Pollinators Plant List'.
We can all help save the bees and butterflies. Start planning!