Bee-friendly makeover

City office, managed by Savills – providing forage from spring to autumn

One of the joys of summer 2020 has been tending to the bee-friendly planters we installed last year on One Carter Lane, an office building managed by Savills, which is stone’s throw from St Paul’s. The idea was to create year-round bee forage in the deep, narrow planters that had previously been filled with non-flowering evergreen shrubs. We emptied the planters, filled them with new top soil and lecca and planted crocus bulbs, wallflowers and rosemary for the spring; a crab apple for early summer blossom; nepetas, calamint, Geranium rozanne and achilleas for mid summer: and salvia, sedum, echinacea and hebes for late summer. The conditions were dry and exposed and very sunny, so we had t chose the right bee-friendly flowers for the location and the seasons.

And the bees have come. There are hives on the roof, so some honeybees have been on the geraniums, nepeta and the blossom, but we’ve also had wild bees visiting, including the solitary hairy-footed flower bee (below), the buff-tailed bumblebee and the common carder bee (bottom photo). Most of the bees I’ve failed to photograph, but I did capture a couple here.

Hairy-footed flower bee flying to the Nepeta with her long tongue (proboscis) extended

Here’s a common carder bee also feeding on the Nepeta in mid summer. Her long tongue allows her to get right to the base of the flower to sup up it’s sugary drink.

The planters are still providing a colourful display of flowers right through September – and late pollen and nectar for the bees.

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