As we approach World Bee Day, our bee-loving operations manager Mat Davison is celebrating the arrival of his first 5lbs of honey – courtesy of his 15,000 new housemates.
The colony of honeybees arrived shortly before lockdown and have been very busy making themselves at home in Mat’s Derbyshire garden.
In fact, they’ve been almost as busy as Mat and his dedicated team in the massive Plantscape greenhouse. While socially distancing they’ve been spending seemingly every daylight hour nurturing 72,000 plants which will be transported to destinations across the UK from the end of May.
The bees, which he hopes will expand to around 50,000 over time, are the culmination of a long-held dream for Mat – who describes himself as a passionate enthusiast rather than an expert.
His expertise lies in choosing, planting and nurturing colourful long-lasting flowers for Plantscape’s thousands of hanging and barrier baskets, flower towers and metre square planters and handling the logistics of getting them to the right place at the right time.
This expertise is also evident in his own garden, which is full of particularly bee-friendly plants.
And while the Stay at Home message has just changed in England, with the focus still on staying put where possible, there is still plenty of opportunity for many of us to grow plants which encourage bees to our own gardens or balconies.
Single flowered, purple and tubular shaped flowers are the most effective. The petals of double-headed blooms prevent the bees reaching the nectar, purple is easier to spot and flowers such as foxgloves are perfect for the long tongued bumblebee!
Mat has filled his garden with RHS ‘plants for pollinators’ for maximum bee-friendliness.
Anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps could select his choices of primula vialii, polemonium, echinops, hemerocallis, helenium, verbena, strawberry mint, swiss mint, liatris, sidalcea, aster, rudbeckia, echinacea, leucanthemum and digitalis.
Plantscape’s own seven-day watering planters are stocked full of colourful, wildlife-encouraging plants. And from the end of May they’ll be gracing town centres across the country so everyone can benefit from them while they’re enjoying their limitless daily exercise!