Thu, Nov 23, 2023 8:00 AM

Gardening: Creating a buzz-worthy garden


Tessa Jaine

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the decline in bee populations worldwide. As essential pollinators, bees play a vital role in maintaining our ecosystem's health and biodiversity. In New Zealand, where agriculture and horticulture heavily depend on pollination, fostering a bee-friendly garden is not only beneficial to the environment but also enhances the beauty of your outdoor space. Here are some simple steps to create a bee-friendly garden that will have your backyard buzzing with life.

Choose native and bee-friendly plants

The first step to creating a bee-friendly garden is selecting the right plants. Native flora is well-adapted to the local climate and will attract local bee species. Focus on plants that provide a continuous source of nectar and pollen throughout the year. Some excellent choices include manuka, kowhai, flax, hebe, and lavender. Additionally, herbs like thyme, rosemary, and mint are also attractive to bees and add a delightful aroma to your garden.

Avoid pesticides and chemicals

To create a haven for bees, steer clear of chemical pesticides and herbicides. These harmful substances not only harm bees but also disrupt the entire ecosystem. Embrace natural alternatives like neem oil, diatomaceous earth, or companion planting to deter pests while ensuring the safety of your pollinator friends.

Provide water sources

Bees need water to drink and cool their hives during hot weather. Create a shallow water source in your garden, such as a birdbath or a shallow dish with rocks for them to land on. Make sure to replenish the water regularly to keep it fresh and inviting.

Create bee habitats

Aside from foraging, bees need safe places to nest and lay their eggs. Consider leaving some undisturbed areas in your garden, such as patches of long grass or a small un-mown corner. Alternatively, you can set up artificial bee houses or bee hotels with nesting tubes made from bamboo or drilled wood. These accommodations offer ideal shelters for solitary bees.

Plan for year-round blooms

Bees are active throughout the year, so strive to have blooms in your garden during every season. Choose a variety of plants that flower at different times, ensuring a constant food supply for the bees. By providing sustenance year-round, you encourage bee populations to thrive and improve pollination in your garden.

Creating a bee-friendly garden is a rewarding endeavour that not only benefits these essential pollinators but also enhances the natural beauty of your surroundings. As more people embrace bee-friendly gardening practices, we can collectively contribute to preserving the bee populations and safeguarding the future of our ecosystem. So, get started and create a buzz-worthy garden this spring.

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