Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bee kind

My love of gardening was nurtured by Granny Mary. Her seaside garden was a treasure trove of nooks and crannies, and an abundance of colour. Little pathways wound up a steep hillside and disappeared into shrubby dead-ends. Enormous boulders were perfect for climbing on and hiding behind. 

Her garden overflowed with plants and ornaments and as children we were captivated by her collection of garden gnomes. Somehow the feeling I experienced of being in her garden has stayed with me. I always tell my family that I feel compelled to be in my garden,  surrounded by the proximity of the smells, colours and tiny details which you cannot experience when overlooking it from the deck above. 

I also remember how noisy Granny Mary's garden was, with bird calls and the buzz of bees - which we ran away from out of fear of being stung.

So it has been with alarm that I've noticed how in the last decade suburban gardens have became monocultures of greenery. Gone are the colourful and bright flower heads gently swaying in the breeze. Gone is the scent that used to drift across the path as you wondered by. Gone are the gardens of the slightly wild and unruly kind. And gone are the bees.

We need these creatures, we do! Their job is essential for pollination so we can grow food. The Ministry of Primary Industries reports that a third of our food is pollinated by bees. But these little creatures are being attacked on all fronts. The varroa mite destroys both wild and hive bees. Also with fewer flowering plants, bees encounter nutritional stress.

So I was delighted to see in the Spring issue of the  NZ Gardener the campaign "It's time for Plan Bee". NZ Gardener have teamed up with Mr. Fothergills to colour the nation's gardens with delicate wild flowers that are easy to grow, are super little pollen producers and are well just simply bright and beautiful, even if you have to get down low to enjoy them. The packs contain around 350 seeds including calendula, cosmos, coreopsis, dianthus, nigella and many more varieties.

I don't have much space in my garden, but scatter the seed where I can find small patches in beds with sunshine and as long as I keep it watered, in next to no time, the delicate spindly green growth peeps up and within a couple of months, blooms appear. Only thing is, is that it requires a little planning and does not offer the reward of instant gratification that seedlings can provide.

So join me and help feed the bees by sewing some wild flower seeds in the southern hemisphere spring. 

And of course, the advantage of attracting bees, is that the butterflies will fly by too! Happy seed sewing.

- Claudia x