Organic spray for blackspot on RosesIn a 10litre bucket of water add 5 tablespoons of baking soda and a couple of splashes of compost tea or worm farm liquid and a dash of washing up liquid. Mix thoroughly and spray weekly.
Green garden » perennials » bee friendly
Creating a Bee Friendly Garden
Nothing evokes the sense of an organic garden like the hum of bees buzzing amongst summer flowers. Honey bees are important for pollination of all our fruits and berries and many of our vegetable crops. They don’t need us but we certainly need them. World wide, their numbers are on the decline and experts are not sure why this is. By maintaining a bee-friendly garden, you can play a small, but important role in helping to restore the hard-hit wild honeybee populations, and help bee-pollinated crops.
Thanks to beekeepers, honeybees aren’t in danger of disappearing completely, even with the added problems of the Varroa mite. However, surviving wild populations of native bees and bumble bees do require help. Since the introduction of Varroa mite in NZ the honey bee population has dramatically declined. You can help their recovery if you promote an environment that encourages bees to visit your garden. If you are looking for an activity with the kids, why not build a 'Bug Hilton', bumblebees and solitary bees will inhabit this.
Bees need a reliable supply of water throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn. They use water to cool their hives and dilute the honey they feed to their larvae. Provide a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the margins to collect water. Place rocks or grow water lilies in deeper water to provide bees with a safe landing platform.
Pollen and nectar
Bees do well in an urban garden as often there is a huge choice of nectar from your garden and the neighbours garden. Ornamental plants will attract bees to your garden, but not just any flower will do. If you aim to attract honeybees, you’ll need bee lures that produce ample amounts of pollen and nectar.
Foraging bees identify desirable flowers by color, shape, and smell. Interestingly, bees can clearly perceive only four colors: yellow, blue-green, blue, and ultraviolet. Yellow, the color of most pollen, is another bee favourite. Most modern ornamentals, such as hybrid roses, no longer produce enough pollen and nectar. Plant old-fashioned or heirloom varieties.
Protecting BeesThe most serious danger to foraging honeybees is the indiscriminate use of pesticides and other chemicals in the garden. This is just another reason to be organic and spray free. When it comes to controlling garden pests, simple home remedies can save the bees. For example, you can eliminate a variety of destructive insects, including aphids, by spraying infested plants with a fast jet of water from a hose. One organic spray, Pyrethrum, is very toxic to bees, if you must use it, spray late in the evening when the bees are back in their hive.