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

the 'legume mix' (clovers) for bees

yellow birds-foot trefoil in the clover mix

yellow birds-foot trefoil in the clover mix

We sowed this 'legume mix' in the spring of 2012 when be first began our trials into various seed mixes available in the UK market which claim to be beneficial to bees.  For the last two seasons the legume mix has not been particularly exciting; sown into our very heavy clay it produces only sparse leaves in the first year which allowed some grass and other weeds to germinate in the gaps. The last year we had some flowers but still not enough to attract more than a few red-tailed bumbles.

But this year it is different; a sea of mainly yellow from the birds-foot trefoil but with liberal quantities of white and red clover too.  The clovers have now got so well established that the grass has been reduced to probably less than 50% coverage.

And the bees, have been working in impressive numbers for a pasture-based crop. This last weekend, when it was warm and sunny, I counted an average of 3 honeybees and 2 red-tailed bumbles per square meter.

We will continue our weekly counting so we can also gauge how many weeks of value it has provided and include this in our research when we write our report at the end of the season. Till then its just lovely to get down to ground level and sit with the bees buzzing around me - not something i can easily do in the herbaceous borders!

by rosi