plant-based recipes and mindful living

Bees welcome!

Bees welcome!

The British Beekeeper’s Association is promoting a lovely approach to beekeeping this year that is all about the forage! They say that even though we all want to be beekeepers, we can certainly all be ‘keepers of bees’ by planting the right plants as sweet, yummy forage habitats to welcome bees into our lives.

As a newbie beekeeper who is unsure about keeping bees of her own in London, I‘m a huge advocate of the keeper of bees approach. Its widely accepted that bee populations have dropped in the UK because they have a suffered a huge loss in habitat over recent decades so more forage habitat is much needed!

IMG_1827

Ideal bee feeding habitats are flower-rich grasslands and clover fields but unfortunately these have been disappearing in the UK due to changes in agricultural practices and intensified land use. The majority of farmers use industrial practices like monoculture where vast areas of one crop are grown year after year instead of using traditional methods of crop rotation where land is purposefully left covered in wildflowers like clover. Crop rotation was great because clover was used to feed the horses working the land but also was excellent forage for pollinators such as bees!

However, awareness is now growing for the need to re-establish bee habitats and its lovely to see wildflower meadows springing up in public parks like this one in London Fields I photographed in the summer last year …

Not only do they look great but they also smell amazing … by September you could really smell the nectar given off by the flowers as you walked past so it must have been like heaven for a bee in there! Over the summer we spotted lots of honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies visiting this patch … even in chilly November there were a few brave honeybees out for some last sips of nectar!

So to join the effort, today I made my task as a keeper of bees to make use of the free packets of wildflower seeds I’ve accumulated over the last year and get sowing a little wildflower patch!

Now that the soil is warming in this beautiful spring weather, it is the ideal time for wildflower sowing. The seed mix I’ve used contains a blend of cornflowers, wild red clover and field poppies. Last year I haphazardly sowed the same mix too close together and it all got a bit messy. This year, with thanks to LBKA and Groundwork for a crash course in wildflower meadow planting last weekend, I’m hoping for a slightly neater result!

wildflower seeds

The key is to prepare topsoil nicely with a rake, sprinkle the seeds evenly across it (the amount I have here is enough for about 4 Square Metres) and tread them in well so they don’t blow away. Remember to give them a little drink of water after sowing too. So hopefully in a few months this patch I’ve sown will be alive with wildflowers.

Also thanks to my brother for the sign … I’m really glad the bees will know they’re welcome to enter the patch ; ) 

Bees Welcome

So if you fancy becoming a keeper of bees then get your paws on some wildflower seed and get sowing. Maybe if you have a big lawn in need of some colour, give a patch up to some wildflowers? I like the look of this website who [very importantly] say their seeds are pesticide and insecticide free … http://beefriendlyseeds.com/our-products/

Happy beekeeping : )


Related Posts

Notes from a bee stalker in February

Notes from a bee stalker in February

Yesterday I woke up to a beautifully clear, sunny February morning. For the first time this year, I opened the door to welcome in the fresh air and beaming morning rays into the house. To my surprise and amusement a honeybee flew straight in to […]

Winter Bumblebees?

Winter Bumblebees?

Winter is a reclusive season, a time for silence, reflection and dormancy. It seems so still out there without bees buzzing about but we’re lucky we can be sure that they will emerge once again next year. There is something deeply reassuring about the repeating […]



0 thoughts on “Bees welcome!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: