We are establishing a “first aid station” for bees offering a variety of upright and creeping thymes. The idea for this followed a visit to a herb farm which clearly showed the popularity of this particular herb with different kinds of bees. There is some evidence that foraging from thyme flowers helps to support bees’ resistance to the varroa mite.
The planting is located in our composting area opposite a hose and the water butts. The bees regularly visit this area to drink from the overflow from the taps. The thymes are planted in full sun in a wooden box (no base) in equal parts compost and grit to ensure they do not sit in wet soil.
At present the varieties include Thymus ‘Jekka’ (flowering), ‘Tabor’ (vigorous), ‘Silver Posie’ (variegated) and langinunosus (woolly). The aim is to provide successional flowering to support the bees throughout the foraging season.
Both solitary and honey bees have found the ‘Jekka’ variety ~ while the honey bees are also busy on the established common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) in the Physic Garden.
Obviously we have a large number of “plants for pollinators” in the garden and it is helpful and uplifting to be able to offer such support to these essential insects, both for their communities and our own.
As coincidence would have it, today, 20 May, is World Bee day.