Many children grow up with an unhealthy attitude to bees, when really it’s their cousins the wasps that need to be treated with caution. Children run away flapping their hands, which then usually makes a sting possible as the bee thinks it’s under attack. Of course, we have to have respect and keep a reasonable distance but bees can be very fascinating insects to watch. So one really good idea is to make a combined fairy and bee garden to encourage children to understand the importance of bees and pollination.
I have chosen a wooden trough as it gives a very natural look and I have planted two plants which attract bees.
- Aubrieta has an evergreen foliage covered in burgundy flowers, which love full sun as which do bees. It flowers from spring to early summer, so it gives the bees that early nectar. This plant spreads out so just one other plant would be enough
- Erysimum (common name wallflower). This plant also loves full sun so these two plants should thrive together. The bees love to climb up the stems and disappear into the flower. This plant flowers until the Autumn so will provide nectar for many months.
I have chosen not to add to many items to this garden as not to encourage little hands to mess around with it, so I have just added a fairy shed and a mini beehive, so that the children can see this garden belongs to the bees.
As you know a child always asks the question Why? So, when the bee visits your garden and climbs into the flower it’s the perfect opportunity to explain that he is collecting nectar to make honey and that by so doing, as it visits other flowers the pollen he picks up is transferred to other plants, which helps make more flowers, vegetables and fruit grow. You can then explain that bees are about less now because of the use of chemicals in growing and pollution in general, but we can help by planting the flowers and fruits they like in our gardens.
Here's are some interesting links to help you and your children learn more about bees and their essential role in nature.
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