Via the Grauniad we learn …
2017 av yield per hive in the UK = 11.8kg (down 1kg from last year).
1950’s typical yield 25-45kg per hive.
I quote … “Our survey shows that suburban gardens and urban roof tops produce some of the best honey crops, so how we garden really can make a difference.” unquote.
Yes indeedy … and increasingly gardens are turned over to gravel and paving! Even ‘gardening’ itself and the cultivation of flowering plants is becoming very much a ‘minority activity’ and certainly hardly ever at the intensity nature deserves. Many visit garden centres but few have any ability. My own place is incredible and so it should be, I’ve a talent and interest in such things, I’ve read books too. Many people ie fourth generation tv sufferers are sooo utterly clueless.
Potential gardeners need to be able to recognise what it is they are looking at, then they need to be able to make an effort, to actually perform the duties of practical gardening. Already at this point the chances of their success is diminishing …..
Heres a quick list that will establish the ‘bare bones’ of a planted garden …
Arabis, Aubretia, Phlox and Campanula (prostrate form).
‘Tete-a-tete’ min daffs (do not plant too deep) tulips, crocus (also C. tomassinianus is good for naturalising) useful to plant when bought ‘in flower’. For autumn bulb planting place sticks for when you buy the bulbs in autumn – (my idea). Never mulch crocus with garden compost, it rots them (my idea again …) use bonemeal.
Foxgloves, Campanula (lge form), perennial Phlox upright form.
Hellebore- many varieties/ flowers to choose from.
Let some Buxus (box) grow to clipped shapes – good for nesting.
Witch Hazel, Forsythia, Buddleia.
Pref smaller form of Clematis for a fence, my fav is Rouge Cardinale.
Apple in form of a ‘standard’ for the small garden. Alkso try some raspberry canes, but be warned they ‘run’.
Note in small trees/ shrubs/ fruit trees look and enquire as to the ‘rootstock’ this influences eventual size, a small M. Stellata can work v well but a M. soulangeana can be massive. Be wary of potbound slow moving hardly selling stock at the garden centres, likewise freshly potted on perennials that in fact hardly have sufficeint root ball – I’ve been misled on this several times. Beware of supermarket (used to be Woolies style) type plants, weak, forced, not hardy. Ditto newspaper offers – theres always a catch! Also ‘gan canny’ with the amount of homemade compost, its not all it seems, its the soil itself that matters and some leaf litter and organic debris works best. BBC r4 Gardeners Question Time in my opinion fails to realise this.
Lets also add Hebe, Flag Iris or a blue scented form, Fritillaria in any form, Bergenia for snails and the thrush. But beware of smaller forms of Allium (big forms are fine) as they are beyond ‘rampant’ in spreading ie to become a problem, not easy to limit.
Late additions : Delphinium, Honeysuckle (good for moths if there are any left, another serious decline),
postscript 11th Apr 2018 … https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/22/strange-case-disappearing-urban-butterfly