The global population of bees is in decline. In the US, striking National Agriculture Statistics show that the number of bee colonies per hectare has gone down by 90 percent in the last 50 years. We have a role to play in halting the decline in the bee population. With modern beekeeping having its roots in Victorian times, here are some gardening tips to attracts bees to your Victorian garden.
Beekeeping In Victorian Times
In early Victorian times bees were kept in straw ‘skeps’. However, in order to gain access to the honey, the skeps had to be burnt which subsequently destroyed the bee colony. The late 19th century then saw a revelation in beekeeping when a hive with removable wooden frames was invented by Philadelphian Lorenzo Langstroth, credited by many as being the father of modern beekeeping. At that time, many Victorian estates had an apiary, a collection of bee hives, because the Victorians loved the sweet taste of honey in cakes and tea.
A Victorian Apiary
Honeybees nest in beehives which can be placed, if needed in a small space in a garden. The beehive should be placed in a quiet, sunny spot which is sheltered from winds. A Langstroth hive is a modular beehive contains vertically hung frames with an entrance for the bees at the bottom of the hive. The bees build honeycomb into the frames which are easily removable to harvest the honey. After a year or so, you can expect your hive to make about 25lbs of honey per year, assuming it is disease free and the bees have plenty of flowers to forage within 3 miles of the hive.
Plants For Bees In A Victorian-style Garden
Cottage and woodland styled gardens, popular in the Victorian era were informal in design. A cottage garden is a great way to attract bees by planting plenty of pollen rich flowers providing blooms all year round. Choose several shapes and colors of blooms and plant them in clumps. Popular plants in the Victorian era which are attractive to pollinators include lavenders and geraniums. Try also including a herb garden as bees are particularly attracted to borage sage, mint, thyme and rosemary.
We all have a role to play in stopping the global decline in bee numbers. Introducing a apiary into your garden as well as planting pollen-rich plants will encourage bees to make a home in your Victorian garden.