National Gardening Week kicked off on Monday 2nd May and we don't need any encouragement to get out into the garden! This National Gardening Week we wanted to shine the spotlight on a growing crisis that needs our attention: the declining bee and pollinator population.
Whether you’re an avid gardener or prefer a more minimal approach to your gardening, we can all do our bit to help save the bees (and the wider pollinator population). Here, we explain a little more about why pollinators are so important to our global ecosystems and simple gardening tips to start making a difference!
What are pollinators and why do we need them?
Pollinators include bees, birds, bats, butterflies and other small mammals that visit flowers to drink nectar or feed from pollen and then transport pollen grains as they move from plant to plant.
Around 80% of all flowering plants need help with pollination and pollinators are responsible for around a third of the world’s food. They also help to support ecosystems that clean the air, stabilise soil and protect other wildlife.
Pollinators are at risk
It’s widely accepted that populations of bees and other pollinators are less healthy and abundant than they have been. The main causes for the decline is due to loss of habitat for nesting and foraging as well as climate change. If this trend continues, it will have a serious impact on food production, biodiversity and plant health in general.
How can we help?
It’s not too late to turn the dial; there are several things we can individually do to help improve pollinator populations.
Pollen and nectar rich plants are essential to support our pollinators, so get planting your ‘nectar cafe’ as the Wildlife Trust likes to call it. Check out their list of the best plants for bees and pollinators on the link HERE - we suggest planting a mix of early, mid and late season so your garden always has something for the bees to feed on (and you always have something pretty to admire!).
We recommend the ‘Bee Friendly Mix’ from Higgledy* - this bumper pack of seeds will comfortably fill 20 square metres of land and May is the perfect time to sow, now the soil has warmed up a bit!
Take the natural approach
Resist using pesticides or other repellents and never spray open flowers. We recommend taking a more natural approach to your gardening and accepting that there will always be some ‘pests’ - sometimes the ‘pests’ can even provide extra larval food for pollinators!
Hold back on the mowing
We know there’s nothing more satisfying than a freshly mown lawn, but perhaps consider leaving it to grow a little longer next time to allow the lawn ‘weeds’ to flower; these can provide valuable extra pollen resources for bees.
Help to support local farmers and beekeepers by buying local, organic produce and honey. This will enable farmers to add natural habitat areas back into their farm system works - it’s a win-win as farms within a close proximity to natural habitats produce crop yield as they attract more pollinators!
*We only recommend what we like and trust, we don’t take payment to promote products.