Find out how to create more buzz in your yard.
Our garden expert Meredith Kirton explains how to create a bigger buzz in your backyard.
CREATING A HABITAT for bees in your garden is more important now than ever, with world numbers in decline. These busy buzzy insects are necessary for the pollination of flowers, vegetables and fruit in any garden, and attracting them is easy. They love anything that is bright and rich in pollen or nectar, and planted en masse to make feeding easy. Colours are not crucial, as bees have great vision, but their favourites are blue, purple, white and yellow. 1 PERFECT PLANTS Many flowers make it easy for bees by having a built-in landing pad, such as the Lamiaceae family. This includes basil, lavender, marjoram, oregano, sage, rosemary and mint, all of which bees love... and they don’t taste so bad for us, either! But bees like more than just these herbs. They especially appreciate the pollen-rich disc-shaped flowers of the Asteraceae family, which includes daisies, zinnias, asters, sunflowers, goldenrod, Rudbeckias and Echinaeca, all of which can be planted now. 2 BE-FRIENDLY GARDENING More important than what you plant is what you do in your garden. Create shelter, build habitat and plan for year-long flowering, especially in winter. Also, don’t use pesticides, especially while bees are
In Australia, native bees can live in a hollow log left out of the way in the garden.
foraging. Be extra careful of systemic pesticides that will stay in a plant’s system for a fortnight and go through the pollen and nectar to bees, killing them as they feed. The most commonly sold perpetrator these days is Confidor, so BEE careful! 3 A PLACE TO CALL HOME The other way to encourage bees, especially native ones, is to provide somewhere to live. Bee “hotels” are trendy in Europe, with custom-built clusters of hollow cane stakes of various sizes used to make homes for non-honey bees. In Australia, native bees are stingless and can live in a “designer home” or simply in a hollow log left out of the way in the garden. Try leaving out clean water in birdbaths too as many insects, not just bees, will appreciate a drink over summer. But don’t let the water stagnate and become a mosquito breeding bowl instead!
Bright and bold Bees love a colourful bloom.
STAY A WHILE Dorado bee hotel, $28.95, from Fruugo.