20 June 2014

Collecting Seeds for Future Bee Garden

As my landlord and landlady are gone to their cottage for most of the summer, only occasionally appearing at home, I am free to roam around the garden on most afternoons, discovering the world of little things without actually being seen. Even better - I gained their permission to collect seeds from plants that grow there. There are many many pretty plants there and I cannot wait until they all have seeds.

I started with this variety of blue cornflower, which I consider really simple and pretty. The seeds look a little bit like tiny glossy sunflower seeds (without shells) with hairs on each end.

I also happened to notice that I am definitely not the only one interested in harvesting seeds - the ants do it, too! I am always amazed at how much these little creatures can carry!

The reason why I started collecting seeds of these flowers is that I am moving to a new place soon, a new place in England, which will possibly have an access to garden of some sort. The main inspiration was seeing the three-part documentary called Bees, Butterflies and Blooms, in which Sarah Raven is on a quest to save the UK's native bee species by providing them food. She shows how using herbicides and lawn mowing has resulted in decrease of wild flowers, therefore decrease of naturally occurring bee food.

She also shows, how little nectar there is in the horticultural varieties of the traditional garden plants and how difficult it can be for a bee to get inside a flower with lots of petals - if they do finally get in, they find very little nectar there - the horticulturalists concentrate on making the plants appealing to our senses, but not to bees' stomachs.

So I decided to collect some of the seeds for my future garden here, where they are in great abundance and then maybe have a few trips to some English meadow  in summer and collect my seeds there. Next year, I can start sowing my first little meadow in my garden :)

For those that are not keen on collecting their own seeds, there are many seeds of pollinator-friendly plants available online here.

All three episodes of the documentary can be watched on Youtube for free:

Bees, Butterflies and Blooms - part 1 
Bees, Butterflies and Blooms - part 2 
Bees, Butterflies and Blooms - part 3 

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