Still wondering what’s going on with the bees? Well check out this New Year’s Miracle: Doctor Buggs finally put out another episode! I finally got enough time to edit the video I filmed months ago discussing the honey bee health decline! Lemme know what you think ^_^
If I could, I would replace all my grass with thyme.
I have seven different cultivars growing now, with outstanding features like lemon and pineapple flavours, variegated or brightly-coloured foliage, and creeping or bushy habits. I can really never have enough thyme.
Thymes (Thymus spp.) are in the mint (Lamiaceae) family. They’re beautiful, small-leafed plants that attract all sorts of pollinators with countless small blossoms.
I take chunks off of the thyme plants I have growing in the herb spiral to start areas of groundcover elswhere in the garden. They form patches easily from a small rooted stem.
I plant strawberries in a bed of thyme to repel pests, which allows the fruit to lay on soft, hygienic leaves, instead of soil.
My plants that need a little winter protection over the root ball are often planted under a bed of thyme, allowing them to be insulated during the colder months: tarragon, for example, springs up reliably every year from underneath a patch of golden thyme.
Under foot and between paving stones, thyme holds weeds at bay, and releases a sweet scent into the air when stepped on.
In essence, it’s a perfect permaculture plant, because it fulfills numerous functions: it’s edible, aesthetically-pleasing, labour-reducing, and insectary.
TheMishchenko squill was the first flower I set my eyes on as I started exploring the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, but it is also one of the first bulbs to blossom in the cold winter sun, providing much needed forage for the earliest pollinators, all the way to March.
Native to northern Iran and the southern Caucasus, the plant was introduced to the ornamental market in the 1930s and has been readily available and easy to establish ever since. While at first sight it might be hard to think of how a potentially toxic small bulbous plant could improve your garden -aside from benefiting the above mentioned pollinators- remember that most fruit trees are more productive when grasses are not allowed to surround them. Geophytes,plants that spend part of their life cycle dormant underground,are ideal to fill the gaps between the herbaceous and shrubby plants used to prevent grasses from taking over, especially if selected and located so that some of them are actively growing at any time of the year.
There’s so much in our garden that’s bolted that could be pulled to make space for other plants, but I always leave them in until the flowers are well and truly spent so the bees know to keep visiting!
Now, where’s the best place in the world to discover an entirely new species?
Basically, your own garden.
You may say, “Ah ha, there won’t be anything in my garden that hasn’t
been discovered.” You would be amazed. In 1971, Jennifer Owen, a
biologist, did a very long-term study of her ordinary garden in a
suburban house in Leicester. She discovered 533 species of ichneumon
wasp, just that family of parasitic wasp. Fifteen of these had never
been recorded in Britain; four of them were completely new to science.
In a suburban garden. So, in your garden, if you have a garden, there
will be things.
Gilbert White, the naturalist, said that nature is so full and so varied
that if you want to find the place with the most variety, it’s the
place you most study. It almost doesn’t matter: Just take a piece of
land and look at it hard enough.
The above moment from QI has stuck with me for years: I think of it almost every time I am outside.
Accordingly, here are some of the bees I’ve observed in my garden. I’ve identified a few, but not with much confidence. I am hoping to get a proper book that goes into more depth about the 250+ species here in Denmark.
Trees for Bees poster! via. The Pollinator Partnership. Find plants suitable for wildlife at Shapedscape.com/plants our plant database is custom designed for landscape architects, garden designers and gardeners alike.