This year we’re on a mission to help save the bees and butterflies with loads of bee and butterfly-friendly seedlings. Many of this year’s seedlings have been specially chosen to support these hard-working critters, as they pollinate the plants we need. Our aim this year is to get New Zealanders of all ages out into their gardens growing fresh food and helping our bees and butterflies get back on track.
Here’s how you can help!
You don’t have to have a large garden to plant a few herbs or flowers in pot plants and the New Zealand Bumblebee Conservation Trust (NZBCT) encourages the sowing of any type of flower. You can plant bee-friendly, nectar-rich flowers such as lavender, borage, geraniums, herbs and wildflowers, throughout the year.
You can even let your garden go to seed. The perfect plants to do this are broccoli, leek, cabbages and spring onion as these provide a crucial resource for bumblebees, especially at the end of winter when food is harder to find. A corner of the garden planted with flowering trees or herbs is also haven for bumblebees.
Autumn is a great time to sow wildflowers as these will grow all through winter and in early spring they will pop up, which is the perfect time for bumblebees. March/April is the time to plant bulbs in your garden, as these will begin to flower in mid-late winter.
You can encourage bees to your garden with a muddy or damp area that provides drinking water for bees. A small pile of dry grass or twigs makes a good nesting habitat. If you find a stranded or sleepy bumblebee you can help boost its energy levels with a simple water-sugar mix. Mix equal parts of sugar and warm water then pour into a small container or lid. Place both the bee and the sugar-water mix near some flowers.
Or join the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust and help them continue to protect our endemic and native butterflies.