During this last season rosybee has evolved from a pilot operation to a small but thriving business. I am sure that all the publicity surrounding neonicotinoids helped to bring the plight of bees and other pollinators to the attention of a wider audience and probably helped to boost sales. I continue to be very gratified by the number or clients who want to engage on what plants will work best for bees in their gardens and who even send photos to show the plants they have purchased once they are established. We added slightly to our plant range and also continued our research to see what else we can find that really works both for the garden and the bees. One of the years highlights was attending a workshop at the Laboritory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at Sussex University to see both their research methods and also their findings on plants they have been studying. Thier method is simple; count how many bees visit each plant type and keep counting every week throughout the season. Because the bees will only visit a plant is they are gaining nectar or pollen then this simple count quickly give a season-long value assessment from the bees perspective. I was delighted to find that we stocked almost every one of the top performing plants but also found one which we will add to our range for next year.
We are slowly still developing our site although the main focus this year has been to improve the soil - and reduce the weeds - in our ploughed area (its about 1 acre) so that the phacelia and borage we grow as a seed-sown annual crop germinates more successfully and we can increase the quantity of nectar it provides for the bees right through summer. This years flowering was better than last and now we have gained a bit more experience with our new harrow we hope that next year will better again.