This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
LIFESTYLE: Bee-Friendly by Teresa Verney-Brookes of www.rspb.org.uk


As wildflowers have become


increasingly scarce in the wider countryside, gardens have become more and more important for bees to find food and shelter. Thus - we can all do our bit to help – even if it is only in a small patch of our garden or in a window box in a flat or maybe erecting a bee home on a spare wall.


Most species of bees and their young eat only nectar and pollen and are therefore entirely dependent on an adequate supply of the right kinds of flowers through the year for their survival. Gardens cover more than 1 million hectares of Britain - which is in fact a greater area than all of our nature reserves combined. However, at present, many gardens are not especially wildlife friendly as many are increasingly covered with


34 | ukhandmade | Spring 2012


concrete or decking and boast lawns that most cricketers would happily play on!


As a nation of gardeners, we tend to rush to the garden centre and buy lots of exotic or highly cultivated flowers such as Petunias, Busy-lizzies and Begonias. Although such plants may look great to us humans, years of selection to ensure they have increasingly


showy blooms has


resulted in them losing their original function - to attract pollinating insects, as many produce little or no pollen and nectar, or keep it hidden away from the bees. Most bees like flowers with open heads so they can easily access their nectar, not the big showy types.


Traditional cottage garden flowers and native wildflowers are fantastic


for a range of bees and they can look superb in any garden. Moreover, they are typically easy to grow and tend to be very hardy and more resistant to slugs and disease than the showier flowers many of us have become accustomed to planting. Many quite “well known” wildflowers which are excellent food sources for bees may already be present in some of our gardens. For example foxgloves, bluebells, dead nettles – so we may already have a great garden for bees without having made much effort at all!


There are many other lesser-known wildflowers.


Viper’s bugloss, for


example, which produces tall, purple spikes that look stunning in an herbaceous border and positively drip nectar. As a general rule of thumb, the most important way to


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120