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Kōwhai, Ngaio, And Swamp Flax – Key To The Region’s ‘well-bee-ing’

Bee Aware Month is the buzz word on the region’s streets; the perfect time to sweeten up your native planting skills and support bees which are key to our community health and resilience.

It’s no secret that bees hold our ecosystem together through the cross-pollination of plants so they can fruit and provide food for insects, animals and humans – so this September is the time to share and support the vital role these small furry insects play in the wellbeing of our region.

Greater Wellington’s Akura Nursery assistant, Carolyn Anderson says there’s many ways to help keep bees healthy, happy and busy.

“There’s a range of native and non-native plants that anyone can plant in their backyard that support bee survival. Bees need a variety of plants and trees that flower at different times for food sources, so they can keep their colony strong and healthy through the spring period.”

“My top suggestion for natives species are tī kōuka (cabbage tree), ngaio, harakeke, puahou (five-finger) and koromiko (hebe). Also, exotics species such as willow tree, lucerne and eucalypts can give an excellent year round bounty for the bees.”

Carolyn has worked at the Wairarapa nursery for six years and says 2020 is by far the biggest year in sales for plants that help bee survival, which might be due to the raising awareness of their influence on our ecosystem and human health.

“People need to get in quick to buy from their local nurseries and get planting before it’s too late, because the planting season is coming to an end,” adds Carolyn.

There are further opportunities for the hapori whānui (wider community) to support bee health in line with sustainable farming practices that are available through various Greater Wellington programmes.

Great Wellington councillor and Environment Chair, Penny Gaylor says, “Bees do a lot of mahi for us, they’re extremely important to our wellbeing, so now it’s our turn to help make their jobs easier.”

“We work closely with a lot of farmers and lifestyle block owners who want to adopt a more environmental approach on their land. We have the knowledge and expertise to suggest plants that support bees and our wider ecosystem, whether that is planting to support riparian health or to minimise erosion,” add Cr Gaylor.

To find out more about bee friendly plants visit: https://www.gw.govt.nz/assets/J000119-Akura-Infosheet-Plants-to-attract-Bees-1.3.pdf

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