Monday, 25 May 2009

A Bumble Bee Bush for Your Garden

We hear a lot these days about the loss of Bee species - both Honey Bees and Bumble Bees.

As more and more of our countryside, both rural and urban, is subject to either industrialised agriculture, inappropriate 'over-management' at the wrong time of year (see my previous article, 'Why is Springtime the Killing Time Around Here?", 15th May 2009 ) or benign neglect, the Bees have less and less flowers to visit for sources of pollen and nectar. The least that we can do, then, is to ensure that our gardens are Bee friendly.

A few years ago I planted a shrub called Deutzia (prononced 'Doyt-zee-a') in my garden - and I can't help noticing that, not only is it a prolific flowerer, but when it flowers, at the end of May/beginning of June, it absolutely swarms with Bees - particularly Bumble Bees. I've just counted at least 30 on it, on this overcast Bank Holiday afternoon - but when the sun shines there can be even more.

There are several species of Deutzia - mostly from China, Japan and Korea. They are in the same family (Hydrangaceae) as Hydrangeas and Philadelphus ('Mock Orange'). Unfortunately, I don't think they're scented - at least mine isn't. I think that mine is the species, D. scabra - although I'm not completely sure about that. Whichever one you choose, make sure that it has single flowers, not double ones (these will probably not have any pollen and may have less nectar). Double flowered varieties will usually be labelled 'Flore Pleno'.

Dave Bishop, May 2009

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