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

Our wildflower area: unimpressive results for bees

We have given over areas of the rosybee site to trials of various seed mixes that are promoted to help bees and of these areas is a for a fairly standard 'wildflower mix'. It is 70% grass and 30% native wildflowers - mainly perennials.

This will be the third year and as you can just about see from this picture we quite a few red campions and dead-nettles. I have also spotted one cowslip and a few buttercups. There is also a lot of dock and nettle that was the dominant greenery prior to clearing and sowing.  Last year produced a proliferation of oxeye daisy and although its a bit early for that I can see the shoots returning strongly. So good: some progress and definitely some pretty flowers throughout the area.

But when I tell you that a, this mix contained 18 types of flower seed yet I have only seen 7 flower and b, until this week, in 400 square meters of area I had not seen a single bee in 2 years, you might understand why I am underwhelmed at the results of £100 of seed. The problem is the very low ratio of flower to grass; there are simply better sources for the bees so they ignore it.

But back to the small successes; I saw a common carder bee on the deadnettles - hurrah!

This area will need to make a miraculous improvement in its bee-value by mid summer or I really cannot justify the space when other planting schemes will be so much more beneficial.