How to make your garden bee-friendly
Together, in partnership with the Natural History Museum (NHM) we hope to inspire and educate families and children to share our passion of nature, and in particular, pollinators.
Why are pollinators so important?
We care passionately about conserving pollinators, as they are vital for the health of the planet. The herbs in our tea, which we carefully source from over 50 countries across the world, depend upon pollination by insects such as bees and butterflies. By working together with the NHM, we aim to inspire young people to understand their importance and champion nature.
So how can you create havens for pollinators?
Planting pollinator-friendly plants is a great way to attract wildlife, reconnect to nature and help you and your family feel the joy growing herbs can bring.
Pollinator friendly plants:
Lavender is a fragrant shrub, and is best planted in the Spring when once the weather has begun to warm. Lavender loves the sun and thrives in well-drained soils. When planted, it typically blooms throughout the summer, and is loved by all pollinators, especially British butterflies.
Mint is great for pollinating bees and is really easy to grow in your back garden. Pollinators are attracted to mint when it flowers in summer and early autumn. All you have to do is pop it into a pot to prevent it invading other plants.
Marshmallow plant produces pollen for mainly Bumblebees, and also Honeybees. It is a great plant for building up a bee’s winter reserves. A Marshmallow plant prefers wet or moisture-retentive soil - so perfect for the UK! You may know this plant for another use ... it is well-known for its root which is used to make traditional ‘marshmallows’.
Fennel is a great herb you can put in your food, it is also great for pollinators such as seed-eating birds and hoverflies. Bees and other pollinators love the heads of the small yellowish flowers that typically grow on a Fennel plant.
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family, and is a great nectar-rich plant for local pollinators. Bee’s love it - so much so that in the past, beekeepers would rub a handful of lemon balm inside the hive after hiving a new swarm, in order to help the bees to settle and to encourage them not to leave the hive.
Valerian plant produces clusters of sweet flowers from mid- to late-summer. Valerian is a great of lots of pollinators like bees, butterflies and hoverflies.
Remember to keep all garden flowers well-watered - this helps the plants to produce more nectar which in turn helps butterflies and other pollinators.
Adopting organic farming principles when growing bee-friendly herbs and flowers at home is key - so avoid the use of chemical pesticides wherever possible. When our team visits a farm, this is one of the first things they are looking to find.
“If you walk into a field and its thriving with wildlife and bees, it gives you a good indication that this really is a good ecological system that’s clean with no pesticides", explains Marin Anastasov, from our herbal sourcing team (not to mention avid bee keeper), "If it was poisoned, these animals are not going to be there.” When things are well with the bees, things are well with Mother Nature.
We hope you discover the joys of planting this season!
Author: Eleanor Jeffrey
Eleanor has a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Manchester and Postgraduate Certificates for Environmental Management (IEMA) and Enterprise, Innovation and the Circular Economy from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (CE100). Eleanor has over 8 years of sustainability experience working for a broad range of organisations in both manufacturing and retail, including start-ups (bio-bean Ltd), consultancy and multinational plcs (Kingfisher). At Pukka, she works to deliver Pukka's climate strategy, targets and commitments across the business.
Years of experience:
8 years in sustainability
Postgraduate Certificates for Environmental Management (IEMA) and Enterprise, Innovation and the Circular Economy from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Masters degree in Chemistry (University of Manchester)