Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Planting a woodland for bees  (Read 2528 times)

Glencairn

  • Joined Jun 2017
  • Dumfriesshire
Planting a woodland for bees
« on: January 15, 2022, 06:15:21 pm »
What would you recommend I plant to encourage bees?

Ground is south facing, with a mix of soil types including clay. Altitude is relatively high, it rains frequently, it can be frozen there when most other areas are above zero.

Have put in daffodils, snowdrops and was gifted some bluebell bulbs from a friend from the gardening group my wife volunteers at.

I was considering digging up some foxgloves from some wasteland and seeing if they would take.

Planted a load of wild cherry too, but that's obviously a long term project and was looking for quicker results. There's already crab apple and hawthorn in place.

I was hoping to avoid lilly of the valley because I understand they are poisonous, however any other suggestions more than welcome.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2022, 06:49:21 pm »
First thing I thought of was willow, great for an early feed. I'm sure lots more suggestion will follow  :) .
Check out garden section, 'gardening for bumble bees' (presuming it's bumblies you are wanting? But I 'me sure honeybees appreciate many of same flowers.  :)
** Now in wildlife section.

« Last Edit: January 18, 2022, 10:36:26 am by Penninehillbilly »

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2022, 07:23:14 pm »
If you have space - I would plant a couple of lime trees (as in Tilia cordata, not the sour variety for your gin and tonic). I know it is a longterm thing, but The local lime trees are absolutely buzzing when in flower. We are planting a couple in our field this winter/spring.


Also hazel and other fruit bushes, like currants  (esp black currants) will grow relatively quickly and are also fodder for birds after the bees have done their pollination job.


If you are not worried about livestock (or young children) then foxgloves are also easy, and with any luck they will also self-seed.


Dog rose (Rosa canina), again great for both flower and hips.


I can really recommend the Dave Goulson book "Gardening for bumble bees" - check out the library. Ours has it.

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2022, 07:31:23 pm »
Buddleia - attractive to butterflies and presumably to bees also? Fast growing, and once you've got one tree they seed like mad.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2022, 08:17:42 pm »
I'm not sure if you're planting trees to make the woodland or flowers to cover the ground, or both.  The problem with flowers under trees is that once spring is past they get shaded out.  There is research to show that bees prefer wildflowers to cultivated varieties, and if there's no choice then open single flowers, no doubles. Are you looking for wild flowers or garden varieties? Certainly bees love foxgloves but of course you will be wanting a continuous offering of flowers in every season, except perhaps winter.  In the gardening for bumble bees thread already referred to by Penninehillbilly we are looking to see which flowers we grow are most attractive to bumble bees.  We have only just started at the beginning of this year and I think only one person has any bees at the moment, so it will be February or March before making useful entries. Remember that bees also need somewhere to nest, unless you will be keeping hive bees, so rough grass, holes in masonry, uncut banks and so on help.


Trees liked by bees include: Willow, all the spring flowerers like cherry, blackthorn, mirabel, roses (roses of course are not trees but any woodland needs a shrubby layer as well as an understory), honeysuckle, buddleia as mentioned, alder, broom, gorse, and so many more, anything that produces pollen and nectar.


Flowers, depending on whether these are for under trees or in more open ground:  Primrose, cowslip, bulbs, pulmonaria, daffodils, especially the native type, wood anemone, knapweed, meadow geranium,  herb robert (which stinks), all sorts of low herbs such as thyme, marjoram, wild garlic, various mints including water mint (a small pond is good to include as bees need a drink every now and then), dandelions, clover, ox-eye daisies, yarrow, the list is pretty much endless.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2022, 08:19:38 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2022, 08:09:31 am »
Just a quick note    please check legality of up rooting any wild bulb ..... this is generally illegal (you can pick flowers and collect seed )
Linda

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harmony

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2022, 08:49:22 am »
I keep bees and I have a postage stamp size garden. Lots of lovely gardens in the village but bees do like wild areas such as railway line embankments where there are lots of stuff we would pull out of our cultivated gardens. Brambles are great for bees  :innocent: .  Next door to me has a big garden with a massive bramble covered banking which is literally buzzing when in flower. They target the horse chestnut and sycamore for pollen too.


Worth also remembering when in pursuit of that perfect lawn devoid of dandelions and such weed killers do bees and insects no good.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2022, 11:45:21 am »
If you have space - I would plant a couple of lime trees (as in Tilia cordata, not the sour variety for your gin and tonic). I know it is a longterm thing, but The local lime trees are absolutely buzzing when in flower. We are planting a couple in our field this winter/spring.
I was just about to post about lime trees. We have one in the steading and when it's in flower, it MOVES with bees. You can hear the collective hum from yards away.

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2022, 12:53:50 pm »
Locust trees are fast growers with lots of flowers, and they're a legume. Honey locust especially.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

"Fall down 7 times, stand up 8" ~Bodhidharma

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2022, 01:27:43 pm »
If you have space - I would plant a couple of lime trees (as in Tilia cordata, not the sour variety for your gin and tonic). I know it is a longterm thing, but The local lime trees are absolutely buzzing when in flower. We are planting a couple in our field this winter/spring.
I was just about to post about lime trees. We have one in the steading and when it's in flower, it MOVES with bees. You can hear the collective hum from yards away.

I've just posted in the "Gardening for Bumble Bees" thread to say that you have persuaded me to send off for a Small leaved Lime - thank you @Rosemary and @Anke
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2022, 03:27:43 pm »
If you have space - I would plant a couple of lime trees (as in Tilia cordata, not the sour variety for your gin and tonic). I know it is a longterm thing, but The local lime trees are absolutely buzzing when in flower. We are planting a couple in our field this winter/spring.
I was just about to post about lime trees. We have one in the steading and when it's in flower, it MOVES with bees. You can hear the collective hum from yards away.

Yes we bought two 6ft Tillia saplings from Cheviot trees, as well as ten smaller ones to go into the sheep field next year. The saplings are going to hopefully block the view to our new neighbours in due course...
I've just posted in the "Gardening for Bumble Bees" thread to say that you have persuaded me to send off for a Small leaved Lime - thank you @Rosemary and @Anke

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2022, 11:09:43 pm »
You can grow limes in Scotland?!

In what, a greenhouse?
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

"Fall down 7 times, stand up 8" ~Bodhidharma

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2022, 02:53:54 am »
It isn't the citrus lime, small leaf lime is tilia cordata, common names can be a bit confusing can't they  ;)

Kiran

  • Joined Apr 2019
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2022, 06:00:46 am »
If you have space - I would plant a couple of lime trees (as in Tilia cordata, not the sour variety for your gin and tonic). I know it is a longterm thing, but The local lime trees are absolutely buzzing when in flower. We are planting a couple in our field this winter/spring.
I was just about to post about lime trees. We have one in the steading and when it's in flower, it MOVES with bees. You can hear the collective hum from yards away.

I've just posted in the "Gardening for Bumble Bees" thread to say that you have persuaded me to send off for a Small leaved Lime - thank you @Rosemary and @Anke

This winter I've just planted 10 small leaves limes for out bees. They're only small saplings so keen to see how they do

naturelovingfarmer

  • Joined May 2021
  • Ohio River Valley
Re: Planting a woodland for bees
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2022, 12:03:23 pm »
It isn't the citrus lime, small leaf lime is tilia cordata, common names can be a bit confusing can't they  ;)

OOOHHH! We call those Linden trees. Or one particular one is Basswood that grows in this area.
Turn your problem into a solution. Learn new things. Adapt as you go. Plans should be fluid and subject to change. I start planning for things years in advance and by the time I do them they have usually changed radically.

"Fall down 7 times, stand up 8" ~Bodhidharma

 

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