Frequently Asked Questions
Not only do Pollinators pollinate our food crops, but they’re also vital for the survival of other wild plants that support so much of our wildlife. Here we try to answer some of the more Frequently Asked Questions about Pollinators.
Bees are particularly attracted to blue, violet, purple white and yellow flowers.
You can buy bumble bee nest boxes but we wouldn’t recommend them. Research has proved that bees prefer to make their own nest. You would be better spending the money on a lavender bush which you won’t be able to keep the bees off or better still plant a lavender hedge. We have them all over the nursery and the bees love them.
Honey bees will be in their hives and the beekeeper will be taking care of them. For other types of bees only the Queen hibernates through the winter. They will normally burrow into the ground for the cold months, emerging in the warmer Spring months to start the hive again.
Instead of a nose, bees have antenna with thousands of tiny sensors that detect smells – just like a nose.
The only food source for any bees are the pollen and nectar contained within the plants. The best advice we can give is to ensure you plants in flower from February right through to November.
Yes they do. A common cause of death in bees is dehydration. Bees can’t use large expanses of water such as ponds as they can’t swim same applies for bird baths. If you want to provide a water source for bees then use a shallow dish and fill with stones or small pebbles. The water will gather in the dish and the bee will be able to land on the stones / pebbles without the fear of drowning. We place many of these around our glasshouse and nursery and the bees love them.
Generally it is only the Queen that will survive the winter so is the only one to return, she will hibernate in the soil emerging in the Spring. Generally a nest will only be used for one year however if the nest is in good condition it may be used year after year.
While bees do not talk to each other they communicate through dances, vibrations and body chemical signals. The scout bees will pass essential information to the workers on new pollen, nectar and water sources.
That really depends on the bee. Honey bees live in hives that are made by the beekeepers so they can collect the honey. Bumble bees will make their own nests and can often be found in sheds under the house and in lofts. Depending on the species will depend how long the nest will be there. Some are as short as a few weeks others will be there all summer. Species like the tree bumble bee will be found in trees and then solitary bees can make nests in bamboo canes and other will nest in the ground.
Unlike wasps, bees will only sting when they sense danger. Bees are attracted to smells and flowers. Dressing children in floral print will attract bees however once they realise the flower is not real they will move on. Avoid strong perfume and suntan lotion or hair products with strong scents. Remember if a bee stings it dies, so it will only do so as a last resort.
Around 20,000 worldwide that are separated into seven families. In the UK we have around 270 species of bees that have been recorded.
Not all plants are pollinated by the same type of pollinator. Plants that produce a strong evening scent such as jasmine and honeysuckle rely on moths to pollinate as the other pollinators do not fly much in the evening or at all in the dark. Depending on the shape and form of the flower will also determine which pollinator will visit.
Without bees plants will not be pollinated and we would have less flowers. They also pollinate fruit and veg, so if you enjoy growing your own – you need the bees.
Neonicotinoids (neonics) are mostly commonly used in farming where they are applied as seed coatings for crops such as oilseed rape. Many studies have linked these chemicals to the decline in our pollinator population. In horticulture neonics can be found in pesticides and insecticides that are used to keep the plants free from attack and disease. You may yourself even be using items that contain neonics as they are in products such as Bayer Ultimate Bug Killer. Sadly, some growers will be selling plants as “bee friendly” that have been treated with neonics, so not bee friendly at all! As neonics are systemic – meaning they can be taken up by the roots of the plants and translocated to their leaves, flowers and pollen, they effect the entire plant and in turn the pollinator. WE DO NOT USE ANY SUCH PRODUCTS ON THE NURSERY.
Being passionate about plants that’s the hardest question for us to answer. Lets break it down into three sections; plants, herbs and cut flowers. John says Achillea millefolium Summer Wine is just divine. Any achillea will work hard in the garden, the deep wine colour of this variety will pop in any garden. Origanum Country Cream great form or Oregano that creates a carpet of wonderful scented pale-yellow leaves. Edible and beautiful. Dahlia Café au Lait for a cut flower, big showy and lasts for around 10 days in the vase. Hugh says Hydrangea paniculate Pinky Winky this form of hydrangea has big conical flowers that the bees love. They start a pure white and in Autumn turn a hue of pink. Ocimum kilmandscharicum x basilicum ‘Dark Opal’ or African Blue Basil is an amazing herb, sadly tender but worth buying every year for the colour and texture. The leaves and flowers can be eaten and the stems of the plant look dramatic too. Nigellla or Love in a mist is my all time favourite flower. Gorgeous delicate blue and white flowers mid spring and the seed head look fabulous right thorough to winter and are saved and dried for my Christmas wreaths.
In all cases no matter the pest there is way to deal with the problem and not reach for the chemicals. With most pests you can introduce a biological control, in other words adding something to feed on the pest that will not have an adverse effect on the garden. Every year we buy ladybirds for our glasshouses just as we start to see the first signs of aphids. The ladybirds will make quick work of the aphids. Sadly, once the aphids have all been eaten the lady birds will move on. Spraying your plants with garlic will also deter aphids. For slugs use nematodes which are watered into the soil and will eat the eggs and larvae of the slugs. We have a very large pond in the garden and being in Lincolnshire have dykes around the nursery, this means we have lots of frogs. They help us keep slugs at bay and we keep little pockets of damp patches in the glasshouse to encourage them.
Top tip, irrigation. No matter how dedicated life can get in the way at times so make things easy for yourself and invest in an irrigation set for your garden. If plants are watered at the same time each day they will always look better than those watered irregularly.
Yes, all plants will thank you for a feed even if it just a yearly mulch. Depending on the plants will depend on the feed they will need. Try to only use an organic feed such as liquid seaweed or alpaca fertiliser which is what we use at the nursery. Plant feed is available via the website.
With most plants dig a much bigger whole than the pot so that you can add some grit or manure into the planting hole. Always ensure that the plant in securely planted so its not rocked in the wind and watch out for air pockets in the planting hole.
Please don’t unless you are doing a wild flower meadow and have the space for it. Wild flowers are amazing but they will take over the garden and smother your other plants. They also tend to grow in ways that make the beds look messy. Think of using more edible plants as ornamental such as herbs and fruit bushes the pollinators will love you for it.
Sadly a lot of the bulbs available now are so mass produced that they are designed to only last one year (although not sold that way). Avoid spending lots on tulips and hyacinths and instead go for daffodils, muscari and alliums and they will give you years of pleasure. Also make sure you add lots of grit to your potting hold so that the bulbs are not sitting in wet soil.
Mint must be containerised otherwise it with take over any area it is planted with and you will eventually loose the other plants. Mint is quite happy in pots but don’t plant more than once type of mint in the same pot otherwise the flavours will muddle.
Herbs are easy to grow and rewarding as you can eat them! Evergreen shrubs are also a good place to start and if you are starting a garden from scratch you would want to plant your evergreens first.
Again size does matter. Plants with larger root balls will take to their new positions faster. However, if you have heavy soil and find it difficult to dig big holes then plants in small pots will suit you better. All our plants with be well rooted whichever pot size you choose.
All plants require maintenance, even those sold as drought tolerant will need watered regularly when they are first planted and all plants require water at some point. If you want to have plants that require little maintenance it is best to contact us first so we can guide you through the process as the plants will be different depending on your location, aspect and budget.
Most definitely. We will wash and reuse all plastic pots. Our waste from plants are either turned to compost via HotBins or we incinerate any diseased plant waste. We use very little plastic in our packaging and try to only use products that you can recycle. We save rainwater from all the roofs around the nursery and have a water tank that holds 10,000 litres. Our vehicles are blue efficiency.
We will never compare prices with supermarkets and large DIY stores. Those are mass produced and like comparing apples to oranges. We do however check our prices against other independent nurseries and boutique garden centres. Size does matter, often we will be selling a plant in a 2-litre pot for the price that most would charge you for a 9cm pot. Remember the bigger and healthier the root ball the better the plant.
All of our plants are tended to by hand. In the warmer months we use an automatic irrigation system so that plants receive the correct amount of water at the same time each day. We exhibit at many of the main flower shows where quality is of utmost importance. We do not have different stock so the plants we sell at the nursery are the same as the ones that go to the flower shows and farmer’s markets.
We are not certified organic (it cost around £10k for the license) however we use organic methods throughout the nursery.