Lockdown has given us more time to enjoy and cultivate our gardens. Gina Baksa chats to Mr Stéphane Ellien, Landscaper at Provence’s Terre Blanche Hotel Golf Spa Resort, and discovers five ways to welcome bees into your garden.
Offer flowers rich in nectar and pollen
Begin by offering the bees flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen, ideally that bloom throughout the year. Bees eat the nectar and feed pollen to their young. Lavender and thyme are among my favourites as they are fragrant and you can use them in lots of dishes.
In Britain, honeysuckle, foxgloves, rosemary, astilbe (‘peach blossom’), snapdragons are all good for bees too – the more colour, the better, especially purple which they like. Single-petal flowers are the best ones. If you have grass, you can also let the poppies and daisies grow and not chop them down too often.
April is an ideal time for making bee boxes
March and April are the best time for making a bee box for the solitary bees (you may not know that up to 95% of bees are solitary). You can use bamboo stacked inside a box, or drill holes into a brick or piece of wood. They should range in size from 2mm to 10mm and need to be well insulated, dry and in a sunny position. There are lots of easy tutorials online.
Make a safe drinking hole
To help the thirsty bees, you can fill a shallow dish with water and add some stones in it. This way, the bees can rest on the stones while they drink. A lot of the time when bees are dozy, they are just dehydrated.
Plant flowering fruits and vegetables
…like tomatoes, courgettes and strawberries or a herbal garden. At Terre Blanche, besides the garrigues and preserved areas, they have an aromatic garden where they grow herbs for use in their restaurants. This way, they can get delicious home-grown produce and also help bees get the nectar they need. If you have lots of space, you should consider growing a cherry or apple tree.
Let nature take Its course
There is so much beauty and elegance to be found in nature, and the bees have been very happy here for millennia. Don’t use pesticides because these do not discriminate. Plant a patch of wildflowers. Leave a pile of logs and dry leaves in the corner.
Terre Blanche Hotel Golf Spa Resort – Where and How?
Terre Blanche, an environmentally-conscious and eco-friendly property on the Côte d’Azur near Grasse, the perfume capital of the world, produces honey from its on-site beehives.
The property is designed to preserve biodiversity in its vast gardens and areas of woodland.
It is located at 3100 Route de Bagnols-en-Forêt, 83440 Tourrettes, Var, Provence, Côte d’Azur, France. For more information, visit www.terre-blanche.com.
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