We know our chums the bees are in steep decline…one way we can help the stripy critters to offer them a greater abundance of nectar rich food.
I have designed this simple collection of a dozen packets of seeds to provide a long season of nectar rich plants. Not only are they easy to grow but most are also ‘cut and come again’ so you can use the flowers for cutting and the blooms will be replaced…a veritable feast for the pollinators from early summer to the first frosts of November.
All the below are annuals and can be sown from early spring. If sowing directly into the soil I would wait until mid April when things have warmed up a little. There are easily enough seeds here to cover two decent sized cutting patches…so why not share them with a friend….the bees will love you for it!
Usually I mix my seeds up in a bowl and sow them in shallow drills one foot apart in a bed that is three feet wide and as long as I have space for. My present beds on the allotment are about twenty five feet long. This year however I will experiment in the same dimension beds…but instead of three rows I will have lots of rows crossing the bed in the other direction, side to side. Either way should be fine…it is important to grow in straight rows…this makes it easy to see what are your flower seedlings and what are weedlings.
NB You don’t of course have to mix the seeds…you could keep single rows to single varieties which would make you look professional and grown up. I prefer the wild meadow look…it makes me feel more like Grizzly Adams.
A three foot wide bed is easy to weed from either side without tramping on the bed…which is a no no. #NaughtyNaughty!
The big guns in this collection are Borago, Phacelia and Viper’s Bugloss (This is actually a biennial but I treat it as an annual…some spring sown seeds flower in the first year…some in the second year) These three flowers will drive the bees crazy with desire.
The rest of the ‘Bee Friendly Seed’ Squad are made up of annuals that will offer a great variety of form and colour, providing you with flowers for the vase all summer long.
*Eschscholzia. California Poppy. ‘Orange King’
*Nigela ‘Persian Jewels’
*Sunflower ‘Vanilla Ice’
*Nicotiana ‘White Trumpets’ (These can be direct sown from mid May…they aren’t hardy and so won’t enjoy a frost…I usually sow mine in pots in the greenhouse in April and then plant out when it warms up a bit)