Friday, 3 March 2017
Teas and bees
This week I transplanted a few sprigs of spearmint and peppermint from the old window planters into fresh earth. Increasingly decaffeinated me is learning to love herbal teas; and the mint tea from my secret santa gift is my favourite so far. A blend fresh from my own garden that is zero waste and free will make for an even more satisfying brew.
The bees love mint flowers; and I've become a little obsessed in the past year with looking out for them. Our garden is very popular with all kinds of bees and hoverflies, being the only garden on the street to have much in the way of foliage or flowers. They are particularly fond of the privet hedge that overhangs our garden. I hate the thing, but I let it flower every year just for them. I think of it as a form of vegan beekeeping - holding a space for the wild pollinators that are getting very little love from anyone at the moment.
Another plant beloved of the bees; and another tea plant, Monarda (or bee balm), is coming back:
To say I'm chuffed is an understatement - I have killed a few of these beautiful plants in my day, this one came last year as a cutting from my mother-in-law's garden and I was certain it would not survive my attentions - and here it is in all it's luscious bergamot-ness.
I would like to switch out a few other plants that the bees love - the lavender, for example - and I plan to do a spot of guerrilla gardening in some long abandoned municipal planters around the corner. The bees will have a another local sanctuary to stop at, the area will look a little nicer, and I will free up space for a few edibles - ideally these will also be bee plants. Eventually I would like to design a garden where there is a nectar plant in flower every month of the year. This plant finder from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is very useful and also rates your current garden for bee-friendliness. My current score is good considering I didn't plan it that way.
I need to add autumn and winter blooms and I'm tempted by a tea camelia - they are a little pricey, but as tea is essential to the British spirit - this is surely a well justified form of prepping in these spirit ruffling times?