Well after reading an article in the herald last week about the bee colonies disappearing I decided to focus on flowers for the moment while my seeds are doing their growing!
When we moved here there was a few citrus scattered about & we decided to move them into a 'semi-orchard' area together. The same with the stonefruit that I wanted to plant. I love the idea of having fruit on tap - and have fond memories of picking fruit & berries with my Grandfather around his section when I was young. Over winter I planted some fruit trees - both stone-fruit & citrus trees about the place. Because we are in the city and don't have that much space I planted them quite close together - about 2m apart from each other in a zig zag pattern along the fenceline. There was already a few mature fruit trees here which was good! (So much for the cricket pitch - poor hubby! But don't feel too sorry for him - he mowed over my gooseberry plants thinking they were part of the grass the other day! I do realise now the important of buying bigger than a seedling when crazy mower men are about! The poor stubby stick remnants left are fighting hard to continue life!)
My plan is to plan & think like the orchardists do - maximum yield for minimum space & to learn how to prune these accordingly.
But I realised the other day is that I haven't seen a single bee in the garden! Not that I'm expecting any fruit this year anyway (as my trees are only a couple of years old) but to put it simply - to make fruit you need bees, bees need flowers & I don't actually have many around.
Guess thats a downside to living in the city - you can't just get a hive about the place.... well.... actually you can! There is a company that hires beehives out to Aucklanders - www.beezthingz.co.nz. Bring back the bee's (& 15kg of honey!) ;)
But for those who can't have hives - we need to focus on flowers! :) I've just spent all winter removing pretty much everything that was originally in the gardens when we arrived - which was mainly a big cluttered mix of annuals that were bombarding my gardens with tall, ugly growth. The plants that I've put in to replace them - although eventually will be beautiful & full of bloom - are currently small & wont have much to show for come spring or summer this year. So, I'm turning my focus to what I can use to attract the small number of bees left & doing a bit of planning on how I can attract some more bees into the garden.
I do like the look of hellabore (pictured), which I'm hoping to put under each of my fruit trees & will get a few lavender plants about the place. I guess I can count my rosemary - although like the rest of the garden its pretty small & new! I may have to get a few annuals about the place (& maybe start reading the flower sections!) Watch this space!