In the UK alone we have lost up to 97% of our native wildflower meadows since the 1930’s. Bees, in particular, have been hit hard with this loss, whilst also being put under attack by pesticides, monoculture and intensive farming, including the loss of hedgerows as vital wildlife corridors.
You’ll be surprised by how many crop plants require bees in order to be pollinated, 75% in fact, subsequently putting our food systems under threat. The ones most commonly found in our kitchens include Onion, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kiwifruit, Brussels Sprouts, Coriander, Cucumber, Lemon, Carrot, *berries, Apple, Avocado, Cocoa (that’s Chocolate!), Tomato – plus many, many more!
There are many organisations jumping on the bandwagon to help save bees and the wildlife that supports them, one of them is Friends of the Earth with their “Bee Cause” Campaign. I made a donation to the cause and received an amazing “Bee Saver Kit”, which was packed with everything I needed to create a bee-friendly meadow in my garden. The pack included a Bee Guide, British wildflower seeds, a Bee ID chart and a garden planner to help you create the perfect haven all year round.
Another way of helping bees is to get your own seeds and sew them in your garden or like me, in recycled wooden troughs as I only have a yard. I came across Meadow in My Garden via a Pinterest post and love their site and their offering, especially this line…
“Whilst a large corner of a garden can be great for floral meadow planting, a pocket handkerchief can be just as good for a wildlife friendly mini-meadow, and even window boxes or planters can make a difference.”
…which means there’s no excuse, no matter how big or how small space you have. For me, it’s likely to be the “Urban Seedball Mix” or the pack, especially for planters. I also suffer from quite a bit of shade due to my garden area being to the rear of the house only catching the afternoon sun, whilst being blocked by large walls and other buildings. So the other seed option for me would be the problems solvers “Shaded Area” mix. I can sew these now too (Autumn) whilst my ‘planters mix’ will have to wait until Spring.
Another company called “Simple Sowing” have an easy way to sow your seeds by creating convenient wildflower ‘seed mats’. Made from biodegradable paper, each seed is spaced at the optimum distance for perfect germination and growing. The seed carpet can be cut to fit any size and simple to lay down.
You can also go on mini training courses with various organisations to help you be wildlife savvy with your garden. The Wildlife Trusts host a wide range of course for free for members of the public so check out your local trust and see if they have some wildlife gardening or seed sowing sessions that you can attend. You can also check out Roots, Shoots and Leaves for their gardening workshops.
Creating a haven of flowering plants throughout the year won’t just be fantastic to look at and great for bees, but beneficial to many other bugs and creepy crawlies, which will then attract bigger wildlife like birds and hedgehogs. Soon enough your garden will be thriving and the envy of your neighbours – even if it is a dainty window box or a pocket handkerchief.