This is a collaborative post in partnership with The Grass People
Would you like to make your garden more bee-friendly? If the answer is yes, autumn is a great time to do just that by planting wildflowers.
You may already be aware that bees are struggling, with species and numbers in dramatic decline. Bees play a crucial role in the pollination of plants – and that’s all plants, including food crops. Around a third of the food we eat is reliant on bees for pollination, so the fact that they’re struggling is a really serious issue.
The good news is there are lots of things we can do in our gardens and outdoor spaces to help bees thrive. Planting wildflowers is one of the easiest ways to support your local bees, and it’s a great starting point for making the move towards a more wildlife-friendly garden.
The benefits of planting wildflowers
Wildflowers are fantastic for bees, because they provide a great source of nectar and pollen. They’re ideal for other pollinating insects too, and will also provide dense shelter and food for small creatures and wild birds. Add to this the fact that wildflowers are really low-maintenance, great for controlling weeds, and lovely to look at, and you might be wondering why you haven’t grown them before!
Wildflowers are usually sold as a mixed pack of seeds, this will create a very natural planting effect that bees will love. The Grass People Wildflower Seeds range has specially selected wildflower mixtures to suit every soil type, as well as a variety of meadow effects to choose from. Their Bees & Pollinators seed mix is perfect for creating a bee-friendly wildflower patch.
Planting wildflowers: a step-by-step guide
Wildflowers are really easy to sow, and you don’t need a huge piece of land to do it. Even a small container of wildflowers will make a difference to your local bee population.
The first thing you need to do is choose your patch of ground, or your container. Wildflowers will be happiest in a sunny spot.
If you’re planting your seeds in the ground, clear away any weeds first. Next, rake the surface of the soil to create a fine top layer. Preparing a container is a bit easier; just fill it with compost!
To sow your wildflower seeds, sprinkle them thinly over the soil, then lightly rake them in, or just press them into contact with the soil using your hands. Finish by watering the whole area.
Once you’ve sown your seeds, there isn’t really any maintenance required. If the weather is very dry you can water them, but generally just sit back and let nature take over. Your seeds should start to grow within a few weeks; planting in autumn gives them plenty of time to get established before winter.
Follow these simple steps, and your wildflowers will provide bees with lots of lovely nectar and pollen next spring and summer 🙂
Because it’s so easy to do, planting wildflowers is an ideal gardening project for kids to try. As well as all the seed planting fun, it’s a great way to learn about our native wildlife, and introduce concepts such as caring for nature and looking after the health of our planet as a whole. And all you need is a packet of seeds!
More easy ways to make your garden bee-friendly
There are lots of other ways you can support bees in the garden. These include installing a bee hotel, leaving dead stems on plants to provide a nesting place, and using natural fertilisers, pesticides and weed control methods. Check out my post on easy ways to make your garden bee friendly for lots of inspiration.
Will you be planting wildflowers and supporting your local bees this autumn?
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We were supplied with The Grass People wildflower seeds for this project.