Great pollinator reads

With Christmas just around the corner, here are some great books to buy as presents, or to put on your own Santa’s wish list. Planting: Companion to Wildlife Gardening by Chris Baines The Wildlife Gardener by Kate Bradbury No Nettles Required: The Reassuring Truth About Wildlife Gardening by Ken Thompson THE RHS Wildlife Gardening for…

Plant of the month – Blue Eryngo

Eryngium planum, known as Blue Eryngo or Flat Sea Holly, is native to central and southeastern Europe and central Asia. It is a herbaceous perennial growing to 90 cm high with branched silvery-blue stems, and numerous small blue conical flowerheads surrounded by spiky bracts in summer. It is bush-like in appearance but fits in well in any herbaceous border.   It has…

Plant Of The Month – Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as a starflower, is an annual herb which was introduced to Britain by the Romans, and is native to the Mediterranean region. It is occasionally found on cultivated ground and around the coast in Guernsey, and grows really well in gardens, remaining there from year to year by self-seeding. The plant grows to a…

February spotlight species

The Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) is one of the first solitary bees to appear in the year, with males emerging as early as the end of February. This bumblebee-sized insect can be seen darting around gardens protecting a territory and searching for females. Flower bees are extremely fast flyers but often hover in front of…

January species spotlight

There can only be one candidate this month – Bombus terrestris – the Buff-tailed Bumblebee. Throughout the summer this is the commonest of our bumblebees, but in January, it is the only one! Bumblebee colonies die off in the Autumn leaving only newly-mated queens to survive the winter by hibernating underground. These bees depend on…

Bee Hotels

  Some solitary bees nest in holes or tunnels, and can benefit from artificial bee hotels being provided in gardens. These can be bought online or from garden centres, but you can also make your own. Marc Carlton’s excellent website provides lots of information on this. http://www.foxleas.com/make-a-bee-hotel.asp  

September spotlight species

September spotlight species is the Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae), a relative newcomer to our shores. First seen here in the Guernsey in 2001, this solitary bee is now widespread with colonies island wide. As the name suggests this bee thrives on our native Ivy (an important wildlife garden plant) and appears just as this climbing…

Plant of the Month – Lamb’s-Ear

  Lamb’s-ear plants are perennial herbs densely covered with grey or silver-white hairs which will attract Wool Carder Bees (Anthidium mancatum). Unusually, females of this distinctive species line their nests with plant hairs that they collect from the leaves of of Lamb’s-Ear. Male Wool Carder Bees are aware of this and patrol the plants, fighting…