Since last year we have embarked upon a major overhaul of our garden, specifically with a view to making it a more bee-friendly space.
The old rickety fence, which blew over if downwind of an energetic sneeze, is gone. Replaced with a more wind resistant slatted design of Western Red Cedar posts and bars. The close spacing of the bars offers privacy and surprisingly, considering how much ‘nothing’ is between them, more wind resistance than a solid fence. It’ll be something to do with the science of airflow and wind currents. Anyway this is good news for bees who do not like strong winds. And good news for me because I don’t have to keep fixing blown-down panels.
The apiary itself has an enclosure of woven willow screens, this helps as an additional windbreak for the hive and creates one of those garden rooms that fancy designers are always going on about, in which we can sit with a cup of tea and watch activity at the hive entrance.
Along the back of the Apiary against the new fence we are planting almost exclusively plants that bees love, with a focus on trying to offer a wide range of flowering across the season. Additionally we have tubs at the bases of the willow panels and some hanging baskets too for scented herbs which will find favour with the bees and with us while we sit and relax.
One area has been completely cleared of turf and re-sown with natural meadow seeds, including a general bee-friendly mix and specifically Seedballs consisting Birdsfoot Trefoil, Wild Marjoram, Viper’s-Bugloss, Red Clover and Foxglove. We’ve not forgotten the butterflies either with additional seedballs containing Red Campion, Musk Mallow, Cornflower, Oxeye Daisy, Cowslip, Meadow Cranesbill and Yellow Toadflax.
We still plan a raised vegetable bed, hopefully we can construct that this year. And next year… well there is the whole shady side of the garden to re-evaluate and rejuvenate with some new bee-friendly shade-loving species.