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

Native hedges for bees

We have lived in rural Oxfordshire for almost 20 years and I guess you come to take the ‘country’ hedges for granted. Rosybee has mature hedgerows on all the boundaries but mostly hawthorn and blackthorn. So, when we moved into our new-built house in 2015 the developers put ‘country’ hedge round our garden I was unimpressed. I thought we already had plenty of that and didnt really pay much attention to it.

But now, 4 years on, those hedges have begun to flower because we have chosen not to cut them back. Suddenly I find they contain lots of things which the cheaper field boundaries dont, such as guelder rose and a selection of cornus. Wow do those make a big difference to the bee value of the hedge. I have always found hawthorn and blackthorn to be very disappoiting for bees. Although they attract a good number of flies and hoverflies, even those seem few compared the the mass of flowers produced. But now that these elements are flowering I am spotted a lot of different solitary bees. They are mainly from the Andrena family but a good number of species.

So, all those people who rave about the value of country hedges are probably right but even more so if the hedge has its full range of recommended plant species.

by rosi