5 sim­ple prac­tices that don’t cost and look re­ally pretty

NZ Lifestyle Block - - The Good Life -

• Let some veg­eta­bles go to flower in the gar­den, then har­vest the seed. •

Leave the or­chard lawn to flower over sum­mer when it doesn’t grow much any­way, and you’ll have an in­ter­est­ing un­der­storey of clover, dan­de­lion and daisies. •

Sow­ing wild­flow­ers or hardy herbs like bor­age, or plant­ing cut­tings of rose­mary amongst fenced-off young trees looks good, they’re great com­pan­ion plants, and will be much ap­pre­ci­ated by in­sects. •

Habi­tat is im­por­tant. Build­ing cute lit­tle bum­ble­bee mo­tels seems to catch peo­ples’ fancy but pro­fes­sional ad­vice is that food sources are more im­por­tant and nat­u­ral habi­tats are pre­ferred. Bum­ble­bees of­ten nest in old mouse holes or amongst dry grass, and na­tive bees will dig into stable soil along­side driveways, in bare patches of lawn, sand dunes etc. Hy­laeinae na­tive bees set up homes in com­post and old plant ma­te­rial. •

The other ma­jor is not to go around killing them all. One of the quick­est ways to do so is with sprays, soapy wa­ter be­ing the worst. Bees breathe though pores and soapy wa­ter suf­fo­cates them. Just be­cause a spray is or­ganic does not mean bees and ben­e­fi­cial in­sects are im­mune to it – pyrethrum is lethal. A pes­ti­cide – or­ganic or not – is still a pes­ti­cide and kills pests, both the ‘good­ies’ and the ‘bad­dies’. •

Don’t spray plants un­less you re­ally, re­ally have to, and never when they are in flower. Even then, spray late evening af­ter the bees (even the late-fly­ing bum­bles) have gone to bed.

Bee honey com­ing in to bor­age.

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