The Cottage Gardener is now certified as a Bee Friendly Farm!
Why did we decide to take this step? We've always grown organically and encouraged bees and other pollinators to visit our gardens. But we've noticed over the last few years that we are seeing fewer and fewer bees - both honeybees and bumblebees - visiting our crops and gardens. Upon doing a bit of investigation, we've discovered that all pollinators (and there are over 1000 species of pollinators in Canada!) are under serious threat. They're losing their natural habitats and their food sources due to increasing urbanization, industrial farming, monoculture and the increasing reliance on pesticides and herbicides. Bees are responsible for pollinating a large percentage of our food crops, so a loss for the bees is also a dangerous loss for us.
The Bee Friendly Farming initiative is designed to draw attention to the plight of our pollinators and encourage people to provide supportive habitats for bees and other pollinators. It's not difficult - there are many simple steps you can take to make your own garden more bee-friendly. I found it interesting that, for example, single-bloom flowers are better than double-bloomed ones and that bees' favourite flower colours are white, yellow and blue. Heirloom and native plants are particularly appropriate for pollinator plantings because of their flowers' simplicity, fragrance and - believe it or not - their pollen. Yes, modern breeders are starting to produce pollen-less flowers! Don't go there. Also be sure to have plants that flower in all three major seasons so that the bees have a constant source of food. Leaving parts of your land undisturbed encourages native bees as the vast majority are ground nesters.
Want to find out more? Visit Pollination Canada's site at http://www.pollinationcanada.ca/ for some great resource information.