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Beekeepers

We have a keen team of beekeepers who tend to the hives in the vicarage garden. 

Email Charmian to find out how you can get involved.

A bee-friendly parish

Charmian, from our beekeeping team has compiled some helpful hints for parishioners from the London Beekeepers' Association so that we can all contribute to being a "Bee Friendly Parish".

The LBKA has produced a leaflet about bee-friendly gardening. Some of you have already enquired about this, so here is the gist of it. Plenty of time still to get on some of the plants mentioned, even if it is only a tub or two or a window box. As a well-known supermarket says, "Every little helps." 

DO

  • Plant a mixed-species flowering hedge to give all-season long forage: hawthorn, rose, Ceonothus, Viburnum tinus, Pyracantha and Mahonia. 
  • Plant fruit trees. Short of space? Try an espalier.
  • Plant a cottage garden (bed) Old fashioned plants tend to be more attractive to bees and other pollinators.
  • Plant a wide variety of flowers for season-long flowering
  • Bees need water. A small pond or bird bath is ideal, but put in some pebbles or a 'gang plank' so that they can climb in and out. 
  • Put up a solitary bee house. This will attract harmless solitary bees.

DON'T

  • Plant highly bred flowers with double blooms and additional petals. These are all about show, are hard for bees to get to, and often have no pollen or nectar anyway. Examples are Cactus Dahlias and many bedding plants such as pelargoniums. 
  • Use insecticides which are harmful to bees...always read the label!

TOP PLANTS FOR BEES

Spring 

Honey bee colonies start increasing their numbers and wild bees come out of hibernation. They need high-quality pollen (bee's source of protein) for their young. Pollen-rich plants will help them most.

Anenemone blanda, Crocus, Dandelion...yes, don't weed them out! They are jolly and bright and bees love them. The young leavers are tasty in salads, too, Flowering currant, Forget-me-not, Hazel, Hellebores, Mahonia, Pulmonaria, Pussy Willow, Sarcococca, Snow drop, Viburnum tinis, Wallflowers (esp Bowles Mauve), Winter Aconite. 

Summer 

After the blossom trees are over town bees rely heavily on public green spaces, domestic gardens and railway verges. Several of the plants mentioned below are delicious as well as bee-friendly. Also, I would assume that any 'kitchen garden' plant that needs pollination, beans, tomatoes, strawberries, etc, would be good. 

Agastachi Black Adder, Borage (looks nice in your Pimms) Selenium, Eryngium, Echinacea, Geranium, Knifophia, Lavender, Oregano, Penstemon, Perennial corn flower, Perovskia, Phacelia, Poppy, Sage, Thyme, Verbena, Salvia nemorosa, Alliums--garlic, onions etc.

Autumn

Last Chance Saloon for bees to stock up with pollen and honey to see them through the winter. Far more bees die of starvation than cold (they are very good at keeping their hives warm by vibrating their wings, provided they have the 'fuel'---food to do it.)

Aster, Helenium, Ivy...terribly important for bees, single, open, Chrysanthemums,  single, open, Dahlia, Golden Rod, Sedum Spectable, Rudbeckia, Helianthus.

Native or non-native?

The majority of adult pollinators do not discriminate between native and non-native as long as the forage is good.