A “Garden Buffet” To Feed The Pollinators
Pollinators visit flowers and harvest the pollen and nectar, transferring them from plant to plant and fertilising them. This plays a vital role in the reproduction of flowers and agriculture. This includes everyday foods such as fruit, nuts, beans and coffee (yes, your coffee)
Let’s talk about the pollinators
According to “Friends of the earth” the pollinators need 3 things to thrive – food, shelter and water (just like us humans!)
“Bees forage from flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen. The nectar contains the sugar they need for energy and the pollen contains protein and oils”
A buffet of nectar and pollen
Nectar and pollen are both crucial for the progression of the pollinators and the best way to help is by creating a garden “buffet” to feed the pollinators including plants and flowers, which are packed with both.
(And it’s not just bees that you need to set up your buffet for) There are approximately 1,500 of insect pollinators in the UK including butterflies, moths, hover flies and even wasps.
Our Director, Catherine, fills her garden with seasonal plants for pollinators throughout the year.
In Catherine’s garden you will find an vibrant display of seasonal pollinator plants that go with her colour scheme of pinks, blues, mauves and whites.
Catherine’s favourite plants to feed the pollinators
Catherine’s English Garden is north-east facing. The south-east facing side is in full sun for most of the day, whereas the north-west facing side is in constant shade.
Although the bees tend to favour the plants in full sun, she provides the pollinators with an abundance of both shade and sun-loving plants. One of her favourite shade loving plants is the Camelia and some of her favourite sun-loving plants are Lupins, Roses, Alliums, Lavatera, Asters, Scabiosa, Dephiniums and Nemesia to name a few!
Moths are the night-time pollinators that are sisters to the butterflies. They will work their way through the night looking for night-time flowers. Catherine has also planted honeysuckle and a white buddleia (a favourite amongst the night time pollinators) which the moths can collect nectar from.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a garden
If you don’t have a garden and still want to help, smaller plants and herbs will also contribute massively to pollinators. Whilst Lavender is a popular choice for the pollinators, chives, thyme and oregano would complement the garden feast (and are delicious ingredients to use in your own cooking too of course!) You can simply fill one of our rustic window boxes with your favourite herbs and leave it on your balcony or under cover by your front door.
Don’t forget the beverages!
Lastly, to finish off your buffet for the pollinators they will need a little drink to revive them for all the hard work they’re doing to keep the rich habitat alive. Keep a little plant tray of water out for your bees and butterflies to have a drink.
A top tip for if ever you see an exhausted bee:
If you see an exhausted bee, the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of birds) advises to mix two table spoons of white, granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water and place the mix into a very small container such as a spoon so they can have a little energy drink. Do not leave a huge bowl for them as they may drown. This should be enough to give the bee an energy boost to fly back to it’s hive and recover.