Bees can make a lot of people panic-Their loud buzz, the intrusiveness of claiming your cold drink and flying far too close to your face, can send some us running and others freezing. It’s a lot to handle, even if you’ve never been stung by one * touch wood *. We understand.
Bad rep aside, bees form an integral part of everyday life- more than most people think. And no, it’s not just for their awesome honey, the presence of bees as pollinators affects everything; from the economy, the price of food, right through to the quality of the clothes that you’re wearing right now.
Sadly, the bee population is declining at an alarming rate world-wide due to climate change, diseases, forage that’s not suitable for them anymore, the urban space not being very bee-friendly, and pesticides. The good news however, is that you can still do your bit to help with this crisis by planting brightly coloured flowers, certain veggies and herbs that will attract these pollinators and keep the buzz alive! This solution sounds too simple, right? If you stick with us a little longer, we can explain.
Bees are incredibly intelligent and the idea behind having brightly coloured flowers in your garden to attract them was discovered after research showed that bees can perceive a much wider colour spectrum than humans. Their vision is also far more superior as they are guided by the flowers’ ultraviolet light that they use to easily find nectar. Ultraviolet and colour are how bees communicate with nectar-rich plants. This is why it is suggested that you plant white, purple, violet, blue, yellow and orange flowers to attract bees to your garden and to feed them. Planting flowers that bloom at different times of the year also helps a lot because it creates a consistent supply of nectar (carbs) and pollen (protein) throughout the year for the bees.
So how do you choose the correct plants for your bees? Worry not, because Reel Gardening has the fuss-free solution that you need. We have carefully selected varieties of season-appropriate flowers, vegetables and herbs that you and the bees will love! We have put together and packaged these varieties in our Bee Food range that you can purchase as a set or individually. For every Bee Food Box sold, a percentage goes to support The Bee Effect Trust. For more information, visit http://www.bee-effect.co.za/
Also known as the ‘Starflower’, this edible herb has intense-blue flowers and is great for planting all year round. Not very fussy; borage sprouts in about a week or two, matures in eight weeks and can be planted in containers or the ground. The bees buzz at a specific resonance for the flower to release a blast of pollen.
These edible flowers are great for stir-fries, salads, companion planting and their leaves are used in some herbal flu medicines. These brightly coloured beauties come in a bright orange and yellow, which the bees love to climb on. Like borage, nasturtiums can be planted all year round.
Also known as ‘The Royal Herb’ or ‘The King of Herbs’-This herb is a popular addition to your cooked meals and salads. Basil’s white flowers are also very popular with the bees; they love them! Basil does not do very well in the cold therefore it is best planted in spring and summer.
Our Iceland Poppies are a stunning addition to your garden with their bright white, yellow or red flowers. They are also packed with nectar for the bees to feed on, more especially in winter when there is a scarcity of food because poppies are resilient to the cold. Poppies do not do well in the heat, so they are best planted in Autumn as they will flower in Winter.
Some people are not very fond of peas, but their pink, purple or white flowers are on the list as a favourite for the bees. Peas are easy to grow, resilient to the cold and the more you pick, more grow, so you can go for months with a steady supply of fresh peas from your garden! However, peas don’t do well in the heat, so they should only be planted in Autumn.
Green Beans are easy to grow, packed with fibre and are a great source of protein. The bees love the nectar from for their multi-coloured flowers, and the soil loves the nitrogen boost given by the beans, which improves the soil’s fertility. Research has also shown that green beans that have been pollinated by bees have a healthier harvest and the yield is bigger. Beans can be grown in pots or in the ground, and in most climates.