Workshop - How to Make a Bee Friendly Garden
Earth Day 2019 on the 22 April was a bright and sunny spring day in Dublin City Centre. An appropriate sunny start to our series of workshops on how to make a “Bee Friendly Garden”. The workshops took place in the offices of Indeed to a friendly and enthusiastic group of employees from all diverse and exotic countries.
Our team building workshops are unique combination of learning and hands on practical work where people get their hands dirty with compost, plants and flowers.
We find this is a great success with all participants, as people learn information on the topic, learn practical horticultural skills and before the workshop is completed everyone has something to bring home. Something they have made themselves from what they’ve learned and a practical addition to their home or garden. In this instance their “Bee Friendly Garden”. Our workshops are a great way to promote team building, getting to know each other and working together!
To get things started participants spoke a little about their horticultural experience and what they expected from the workshop. We spoke about people’s interest in bees what a bee friendly garden might look like. It became apparent that bees are not too different from ourselves and what they need to survive and flourish are 1. Food 2. Shelter and 3. Safety. We then explored these requirements and learned how to provide these things effectively in our garden.
The team were very interested to learn about bees and pollination. A few of the interesting facts and figures learned were - there is only one species of honey bee, 20 species of bumble bees and 77 species of solitary bees and it is these solitary bees that do most of the pollinating of our fruit, vegetables and flowers. These solitary bees do a very valuable job worth €53 million annually in Ireland in the production of apples, cucumbers, rape seed oil and many soft fruits.
The team found out that bees are under threat in Ireland and the reasons why - Intensive farming, changing farming practice and our tendency to 'tidy up' the landscape rather than allowing wildflowers to grow along roadsides, field margins, and in parks and gardens has led to homelessness and hunger for bees. An increase in the amount of pesticides used in farming has led to bees been poisoned. Climate change has also a huge effect with colder weather in late spring reducing the amount of available flowers, which is a reduction of the available food for bees.
So how can we help? Simple changes can make a huge difference.
Reduce the frequency of mowing the grass to every 6 weeks if possible. Encourage wildflowers to grow by letting a part of your lawn grow wild. You can also reduce the size of your lawn and plant native wildflower seeds in an area. If you don't have a garden or have a small garden you can work with window boxes or hanging baskets to provide more flowers for the bees. Planting flowering perennials in your garden is also a huge help, aim to have 3-5 flowers growing throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn. Providing bees with nesting habitats in your garden is also helpful. You can learn more about that here.
All of our workshops have a part where people get their hands dirty and pot up plants. In this workshop people mixed compost, selected a bee friendly flowering plant and potted it up in a terracotta pot. Everyone had a bee friendly plant to bring home to their outdoor space.
If you'd like to know more about booking one of our workshops contact Pat for a consultation on 01 598 3673.