Welsh gardeners who want to buy plants will be able to know with certainty which plants are guaranteed to be good for bees and other pollinators. There will be no more guessing and hoping.
The new label is designed to help concerned bee and butterfly lovers to identify plants that are safe for these insects. Twenty-three plant growers and nurseries have already signed up, and will use the ‘Saving Pollinators’ label on plants.
This label identifies pollinator-safe plants so gardeners will know that these plants are free of synthetic-insecticides and were grown in peat-free compost, in an attempt to help save the rapidly declining ecologically rich peat lands that take centuries to grow.
This project arose due to the massive amount of new gardening undertaken during quarantine and lockdown. People wanted to do something good, but many were unknowingly buying plants that were toxic with poisonous residues.
There are so many plants, it’s not always easy to know which ones will attract bees more than others. It is often trial and error and we learn as we go.
Scientists encourage people to plant peonies, hyacinths and willow trees, and let their hedgerows flower and stop uprooting their dandelions. Any or all of these steps are almost guaranteed to act as an invitation to bees and butterflies, helping you attract more pollinators to your garden.
Using quality peat-free composts in your garden is also encouraged. They are now widely available, including at the Botanic Garden’s Y Pot Blodyn Plant Sales which you can see in the following 1:42-minute video:
Set up in cooperation with the Growing the Future Project, the Saving Pollinators logo scheme also plans to tap into the Botanic Garden’s DNA barcode research from their investigation and analysis of pollen on the bodies of pollinators as well as from samples of honey. This reveals which plants the honeybees, solitary bees, bumblebees and hover flies prefer to visit, and ensures more success for the average gardener who wishes to help pollinators, based on this cutting-edge research.
This new concept is being launched at a time when the USA is having a reduced crop production season due to low levels of pollination. It will be interesting to see if some cities in the USA take note of this program and give it a try, since it is well known that pesticides are one of the biggest problems for bees. The Welsh concept is simple and holds great promise.
Pollinators are in decline in many places, and they are vital to our food sources. There are many reasons they are growing weak and dying off, including the loss of rich-flowering habitats, pesticides that poison them, and climate change.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales hopes the label project will spread to other parts of the United Kingdom, and we certainly hope horticulturists and garden retailers around the world take note. Here is a 3:15-minute video of the National Botanic Garden of Wales and you can see the label at the 0:20-second mark, on the honey-colored banner on the right.
Thank you, Wales, for this simple and innovative idea, and for taking action to Save The Bees by launching the Saving Pollinators Assurance Scheme. We hope that similar projects pop up in other places soon, following your pioneering lead.