With just 13 weeks will the Royal Adelaide Show I am busy finalising the design for my annual feature garden. Inspired by World Bee Day and my own passion for bees I have decided to create a feature garden to highlight why bees are so important to us and show practical ways we can do to make our gardens bee friendly.
Herbs and other flowers dominate this display garden, not only to add colour and interest, but to show what is needed attract and feed bees. There will be shallow water bowls to remind us that we need leave water out for bees, as well as birds and our pets, and several bee hives demonstrating urban beekeeping.
To recognise the fact that there are over 300 species of native bees around Adelaide and the Mt Lofty Ranges, there will be a native bee hotel created above a gabion cage filled with recycled materials.
There will be vegie beds with colourful vegies showing how easy it is to take a rainbow of colours from your garden to your plate, and there are also a number of fruit trees. One of every three bites of food we eat requires insect pollination, yet 40% of insect pollinators, especially bees and butterflies, are facing extinction.
Since it is not possible to have real bees in the garden, there will be metal bee silhouettes flying through the garden and a giant bee selfie screen so visitors can catch the buzz.
The central feature of this garden will be a potting shed made from recycled materials. However, this is no ordinary garden shed, but a cosy, inviting place to potter when the weather outside is cold and wet. Other features in this garden include an outdoor couch and awning woven from grape vine and other garden materials, planters made from repurposed containers, and other recycled materials to show that you can still have a colourful creative garden on a budget.
The message about bee friendly gardening will be supported by interpretive and educational signage (as well as extra resources and links for further information on a website). There will be a 10 point plan to make your backyard bee friendly and some interesting buzz facts. There will also be promotion of the rooftop tours of the Goyder Pavilion which show the bee hives. Keep tuned for updates and don’t forget to include the Royal Adelaide Show 31st August to the 9th September in your calendar.
Neonicotioids in the home garden & decline of bees
On the subject of bees, a few weeks ago I had a conversation with my friend Stuart Pettigrew, integrated pest management expert from Bug Central about a controversial group of insecticides called neonicotinoids. These are banned in Europe due to their link to worldwide bee decline yet they remain Australia’s number one home garden insecticide with products like Confidor and a major commercial horticultural and agricultural treatment. Earlier this year two large retailers announced they will stop stocking neonicotinoids by the end of the year due to consumer backlash against them.
I uploaded this video and was really keen for people to take the 15 minutes to watch it and understand how important this discussion about bees is. What surprised me was the lack of views the video received. I did not think about when to put the video up, and later realised that it was on the same day as a rather large wedding in the UK, so maybe my timing was off!? However please, please, please … if you haven’t already seen it, please sit down with a cuppa and watch it at https://sophiespatch.com.au/2018/05/19/bees-and-home-garden-use-of-neonicotinoids/