We rely on bees for a lot. Bees pollinate 90% of the plants in our gardens, so without them we wouldn’t have any flowers. But, it’s not just that. Bees also pollinate the flowers on vegetable and fruit plants, which leads them to be responsible for pollinating three-quarters of the world’s food crops.
So, that small buzzy critter is quite important, huh?
A stark loss of habitat and increased use of herbicides and pesticides has made survival a challenge for bees of all shapes and sizes. When land is cleared for development, bees – and those that depend on them – simply have nowhere to live. The growing of more exotic plants and those with more complex flower structures can also hinder bees in collection of nectar and pollen, hence the need to sow and grow wildflowers. And, that’s exactly what I’m working on with Rowse Honey, on their #FeedTheBees campaign. An initiative that is part of their wider Hives for Lives programme that’s designed to protect honey bees and support livelihoods through bee farming, in the UK and around the world.
It’s so easy to apply for your own box of wildflower seed balls, ready-loaded with a mix of wildflower seed varieties to keep the bees happy for months on end. Remember, bees come to flowers for two reasons. Firstly, for pollen to feed their larvae, and secondly the sweet nectar, which feeds all the hungry mouths of the worker bees back in the hive!
But, it’s not just about sowing these seeds in your garden or outdoor space. By changing our gardening practices, we can encourage habitats for bees and their friends. Bees are helpful to other organisms by pollinating the plants they’ll call home. Likewise, bees are an important food source for some insects and spiders, so without them, another important group goes hungry!
It’s really easy to plant your Rowse #FeedTheBees box of wildflower seed balls. They’ve made it 100% fool-proof. Each ball is a tight mix of clay and growing solution, plus a sprinkling of seeds. And you can find some ‘how-to’ videos and guides, by me, on their website (feedthebees.rowsehoney.co.uk).
They’ve been designed for scattering , or use a catapult! Kids are going to love it! Sow your seed balls just below the surface of the soil for best results, and sowing in the autumn is recommended. Although you can sow in spring too, if you’re a bit on the drag. Autumn-sown plants just tend to be a little bigger and more developed, thanks to an autumn of root development!
Your at-home wildflower meadow could be; an actual meadow, if you’re lucky, your garden border, your lawn (re-purposed), or even a patio pot or window box! The kit includes 11 of the most beautiful British wildflowers including cornflower, chamomile and common poppy to name a few. Sadly, some are also the most endangered, so you’ll absolutely be doing your bit for the wildflower species too when you grab a Rowse #FeedTheBees kit! It’s double-the-help really!
Here’s how to apply for yours:
Head to feedthebees.rowsehoney.co.uk, once you’re there it’s as easy as pressing “Send Me Seeds”. Enter your details and the lovely people at Rowse will post them straight to you. And help us to spread the word by sharing photos of your wildflower blooms on social… don’t forget to tag @rowsehoneyuk and #feedthebees.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.