Autumn is officially here
We’ve had some serious downpours of heavy rain in the past few days here in West Wales, rain volumes we’ve not seen for a very long time! There have been some gorgeous autumn mornings thrown in recently too - I just love those dew mornings with the garden covered in cobwebs, don't you? Once the sun rises and burns away the dew, we’ve had some glorious autumn days with the bees working hard bringing mostly Ivy pollen and nectar but also Himalayan Balsam back to the hives for their winter stores.
And on that note, please try not to don’t back your Ivy at this time of year- it’s an incredibly vital and major source of late pollen and nectar for many pollinators and if you must prune it back, wait until middle of winter when the flowers have gone over.
Some of you who have followed our social media will have seen that back in April this year I went about creating a no-dig pollinator flower garden. I recently did a YouTube video on the garden progress and development since it's creating in April 2021. If you haven't watched already, head over to our YouTube Channel now
Late Summer - Mid-Autumn Bee friendly Flowers
Most of the flowers in the bee & pollinator garden are well and truly past their best by now and I desperately need to spend a few hours to make a start at cutting back the growth and removing the spent annuals that are past their best but there remains a few late summer - early autumn flowers that are worth taking note of if you are thinking about adding more late flowers to your bee friendly garden next year. There are several flowers taking the limelight in our no-dig garden and are still providing valuable foraging to the bees to top up their winter stores. In our garden this week, verbena bonariensis, sedum and Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) have been popular choices with a variety of bees.
I’ve got a lot of pruning and mulching to do in the garden over the coming weeks. I’ll be mulching with Merlin’s Magic Compost and I’ll experiment this year with our hessian sacks to act as a warm blanket for the dahlias - I’m not lifting them this year after I lost so many in storage last year. This week I’ve also been planning for Spring too. Every year I set about improving our garden and farm to make it more attractive for bees and pollinators and this week I’ve been thinking ahead to Spring and increasing the flowers available to them. Now is the perfect time to plant Spring bulbs as the ground is still warm which gives them the longest possible growing time ahead of next year.
Flowering Bulbs are now widely available in your local garden centres and online and I would encourage you to think about planting some - even if you have a few pots and be creative by doing a bulb lasagne - it’s a clever way of planting bulbs in pots in layers to create a display of flowers that lasts for months! I’ve just ordered over 400 bulbs (much to Gruff’s delight) and just waiting on them to arrive so we’ll get the Bulb Planting Auger out again in the next few weeks! So if you’re thinking about early foraging for your bees or perhaps you just want to offer a help in hand to bees, go and plant bee loving plants now. On top of my list would be crocuses, snowdrops, bluebells, Camassias, Alliums which will provide valuable nectar and pollen sources in Spring. I’ve also ordered some native daffodil - Tenby Daffodil (Narcissus obvallaris ) as even though daffodils are not known for being particularly useful for bees, we did see them working this small native variety this Spring which has prompted us to plant some more. Now is also the perfect time to sow bee-friendly wildflower seeds when the soil is still warm.
So there's still plenty to be getting on with in the garden and lots to plan for next year too! Let me know what your 2022 pollinator garden aspirations are.