Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

Nectar rich seed mix trials: 'bumblebee mix'

Right now in June of our first year of these trials, the bumblebee mix is a clear winner.  This is a mix from Bright Seeds which contains: - phacelia - borage - red clover - birdsfoot trefoil

From the look of both the seed and the results the above order reflects the ratios as it is really dominated by the phacelia with the borage coming through and odd bits of clover peeking out in places where the floods earlier in the year stopped the phacelia germinating. I cant see any sign of the birdsfoot trefoil but will give it time.

The phacelia is great as it grows so fast and makes that whole area look lush and established compared to the other seed mix trial plots where they are still just struggling to make the ground look green rather than brown (except where the nettles and dock have pushed back up!!)

Brights claim that this mix will last for 4 years with the phacelia and borage self-seeding. My guess is that will depend on how much of the indigenous weed returns. We will track it each year and record the results.

Interestingly I put a patch of the same seed mix in a newly ploughed section of the main field where the soil has a much higher clay content and the plants are not nearly as high or lush. It appears that soil type will also be a factor. These two pictures where both taken on the same day in early June and you can easily see the difference.