Planting for pollinators ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿƒ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒฑ

As you probably know by now, I absolutely love bees and I am both trying to base my career on them and spend my free time studying them.

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Since finishing university I have been spending my time researching both bees and how to create a good habitat for them in the form of wildlife gardening. I only have a small garden but I have created it especially to benefit pollinators as well as other wildlife in the area.

โœณI’m writing this post to discuss planting for pollinators via what I have learnt myself and through attending a masterclass in Chester Zoo and summarising it with my top tips to create a pollinator friendly garden!โœณ

On Thursday the 16th May, this Thursday gone, I went to a pollination masterclass that was run by Chester Zoo as part of their campaign to help native pollinators and native wildlife.

I booked it the week before and it was only ยฃ15.

I had a feeling I would probably already know 90% of what they were going to cover but I had a really tough week in work (well a few weeks really) and various other issues and I was getting myself in a dark place again, so I decided to go and have a happy day in my happy place- the zoo always cheers me up.

It started at 10.30 so I had to be up super early to get the bus from North Wales to the zoo, it took me about an hour and 15 minutes to get me there on two different buses which isn’t too bad.

I thought I would struggle getting out of bed super early as I’d been struggling to get out of bed for the past few weeks because my chronic fatigue has been bad, but surprisingly I not only got out of bed early but I didn’t feel as tired; I think it was because I was excited and I knew subconsciously that I was going to Chester Zoo which is my happy place.

The first half of the masterclass consisted of a short PowerPoint presentation and discussion indoors, I didn’t expect this as it was sunny and a wonderful day, I expected it to be based outside or in a indoor area such as the greenhouses where they keep the butterflies.

The presentation was given by Chester Zoo volunteer staff who themselves didn’t know very much about pollinators but had gone through the effort to research the topic beforehand however, everything they covered in the PowerPoint presentation I already knew except for a few campaigns that exist for various charitable organisations. I actually took the staff quite a lot along with another attendee of this masterclass Michael who was the naturalist in his late fifties who had published scientific papers and research papers to do with bats hedgehogs and toads.

The second half of the masterclass consisted of meeting up with the botanists that work at Chester Zoo including one lady whose knew the most about bumblebees through her own research, not an expert though.

When I last went to the zoo in 2018 during my last year of uni I heard that Chester Zoo were creating Gardens for bumblebees and other bees, during this masterclass I was able to see them completed and speak to the people who had created them.

Chester Zoo has a lot of land and a lot of areas in between the enclosures, where these used to have ornamental plants they have now took these plants out and replaced them with pollinator friendly plants to help our local pollinators and our native wildlife.

One of these spaces is a bumblebee garden see pictures below:

The botanists have done a really good job of the Bumblebee garden however, I did disagree with one plant choice that they had in there- rhododendron!!

They were aware that bumblebees do like them, that as a plant it is controversial and that it is toxic to honey bees however, I don’t think they were aware that the same toxins can also have a negative impact on other species.

They also grow a lot quicker and bigger than our native plants therefore taking all the sun from all the other plants around it and dominate the area it is in and with the root system spreading so much, the seed dispersal being so effective and it being toxic it is very very difficult to get rid of.

I wish they would have picked another plant to put in the bumblebee garden.

After this we went to the area near the meerkats that they have dedicated to honeybees.

Here they have 2 top bar hives which is a form of natural beekeeping.

Natural beekeeping is a form of beekeeping where there is minimal intervention, the beekeepers let the bees build the structures they want, they don’t open and visit the time as often as other beekeepers- honey can be taken but less often than commercial beekeepers and ultimately the bees welfare comes first.

Here’s what they look like…

They also had these hives…

Bees naturally like to nest in trees or elevated off the ground.

I was learning to be a beekeeper using Langstroth hives which most commercial beekeepers use, they look like this:

It is suggested that these beehives stress the bees out too much as they feel vulnerable as they are low to the ground.

I’ve been carrying on my beekeeping research in my spare time, natural beekeeping is definitely added to this list.

We finished off the masterclass by planting wildflower seeds near the giraffes.

-The new baby giraffe was adorable I couldn’t help but take a picture. ๐Ÿฅฐโฃ

So all in all, I enjoyed this masterclass very much as a day out and for beginners it’s fantastic, for me it was a bit repetitive as I knew a lot of the content they were covering, I did learn a few little tips though.

In review… after this masterclass and my own research here are my top tips on creating a pollinator friendly garden.

How to create a pollinator friendly garden:

1. Obvious but essential- no pesticides or chemicals in your garden, this means no weed killer, slug pellets etc.

You can actually buy chemical free slug pellets that are wildlife friendly (see picture below) and there are lots of natural alternative ways to avoid using chemics in your garden.

Here’s some natural/ less toxic alternatives to use in your garden:

  • Fairy up liquid and a water solution is less toxic and great to get rid of aphids.
  • Water your plants every morning- if you water your plants later on in the day the leaves will be damp during the cooler night time which is an ideal condition for promoting fungus and other diseases.
  • Control your weeds by simply pulling them up.
  • Use beneficial insects whenever possible- Insects like ladybugs can be invaluable in the fight against garden insect pests, they eat aphids, mites and the eggs and larvae of many destructive insects. Other beneficial garden bugs include praying mantises, lacewings and parasitic wasps, encourage these into your garden.
  • White vinegar- can get rid of weeds, keeps flowers fresh, deters slugs and snails and food for acidic loving plants.
  • Baking soda- is made entirely of sodium bicarbonate and is a highly alkaline substance that you can use in your garden as a natural cleaning agent, a soil amendment, to care for plants, to control weeds and pests, to treat fungal diseases, and so much more.
  • Keep your plants composted.
  • Clear up debris near the plants that are most prone to munching insects.
  • Natural fertilizers such as clean manure and seaweed fertilizers sprays.
  • Mix up your garden beds with a variety of flowers and plants- this makes it difficult for pests and insects to spread throughout your garden.
  • Beer slug trap- using left over beer make a trap for the slugs, they look beer and will fall right into it and drown (at least they will have a good time beforehand).
  • Natural fertilisers- some wildflowers make great fertilizers such as borage and you can also use banana peels.

There are lots of other tips online, pinterest has some great ideas.

Chemical free slug pellets you can buy online, wildlife friendly and pet friendly.

2. Bee friendly flowers- plants lots of bee friendly flowers of all different sizes, shapes and etc.

Plant flowers for both short tongued bees and long tongued bees. Long tongued bees like tubular flowers such as snap dragons and foxgloves- any flowers that the pollen is harder to get to.

Also use a range of colours, bees especially love white and yellow flowers as bees are flowers in UV light.

Google it, its amazing.

**Theres some links at the end of this article with some bee friendly flowers you can plant in your garden.

3. Leave parts of your garden messy, leave some places for the bugs to hide, for the bees to nest and for the birds to use the garden waste.

4. When mowing your grass leave some long patches of grass, some bees prefer to nest in long grass, some in short grass.

5. Create a bee bath- a shallow bowl, stones and some water, this will give the bees some water somewhere where they won’t drown.

6. Solitary bee box, bee boxes, ferns, tufted grasses and bug houses- somewhere for them to nest.

7. Avoid flowers that are genetically modified etc. A good rule is – ‘if you can’t see the pollen then neither can the bee’s.’

8. Probably the most important; use predominantly native wildflowers but mix this in with non-native plants high in pollen and nectar for the bees, plants from the Northern hemisphere are the best. Also try to ensure there are flowers for the bees from spring time to late autumn.

What bee-friendly flowers can I use?

Check out these awesome links below:

Wildlife garden: Top 10 plants to attract bees and other pollinators

https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/plants-for-pollinators

https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/resources/info-sheet/plants-for-pollinators-guide-to-plants

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/beefriendly-plants-every-season

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci/goulsonlab/resources/flowers

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/17/plant-tiny-spaces-bees-butterflies-pollinators

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/plant-flowers-bees-and-pollinators

http://www.wlgf.org/plants_pollinators.html#gsc.tab=0

Thank you for reading.

Enjoy gardening.

Until next time.

Faye x

โฃโฃ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒผ

#bees #pollinators #wildlifegarden #savethebees #mastercladd #mypassion #gardening #flowers #beefriendlyflowers

Greeting my bees in the morning. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ

I love going out in my garden each morning (weather permitting) to see the bees in my garden eating their breakfast.

โคโค๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿต

I always end up saying “good morning little bees”. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜ƒ

It’s like they are my little bees, especially with all the flowers I have been put in the garden and the bee houses for them to nest in later on in the spring.

I can’t wait to see the solitary bee house being used.

Here’s a picture of it…

Isn’t it cute, it looks like a little beehive. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

I would one day like to become a beekeeper, maybe practicing natural beekeeping though as it is so much better for the bees. ๐Ÿ

I know a lot more than most people about bees but I still have so so much to learn.

It is a passion that will burn in me forever. ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ

#goodmorning #bees #beemad #beesgettingtheirbreakfast #beefriendlygarden #garden #morningroutine #flowers #littlegarden #myhappyplace

Coffee and chronic fatigue syndrome.

COFFEE… โ˜•โ˜•โ˜• It is said that if you have chronic fatigue syndrome, symptoms of chronic fatigue or issues with extreme tiredness related to mental health conditions or other similar conditions, you should reduce your caffeine intake… ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Personally I struggle with this. It takes me so long to mentally wake up in the morning, I have to have at least 2 cups of coffee to feel awake.
My caffeine intake used to be a lot worse in university due to stress and long work hours, it is a lot better now, I have only 3-4 cups a day whereas I used to have 7-8 cups a day.
Caffeine and sugar are really the only 2 things that give me the energy when I need it ๐Ÿ˜ฌโ˜•๐Ÿš #chronicfatigue #caffeine #coffee #mentalhealthstory #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthwarrior #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #mentalillnesses #fatigue #tiredness #battlingforenergy

Dealing with conflicted people.

I have had to learn this the hard way… with my adoptive dad especially.
I have had to learn that by taking out his anger on me, making an arguement with me, that it isn’t actually about me, he is at conflict with himself and I’m just to closest person to vent to and take it out on.
It doesn’t make it any less hard to put up with but you have to learn that it’s a fight your never going to win. They will never listen or stop this behaviour, no matter how many times you tell them, they have to wake up and realise it themselves.

The only thing you can do is walk away from the situation and not give people like this a reaction.
A lot of people who are at conflict with themselves will instantly take it out on any kind hearted, nice people around them as it makes them feel superior to pull you down to their level. Don’t let them!
Even if it does hurt, don’t let them see that it hurt you. Don’t let them get a reaction from you, because if they do, they win. ** Sorry for the rant.
#rant #longcaption #truestory #mentalhealth #conflict #conflictedpeople #conflictwithpeople #argumentativepeople #dealingwithnastypeople #dealingwithverbalabuse #dealingwithconflict #nastypeople #arguments #mentalhealthblog #mentalhealthblogger #mylife #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthwarrior #mentalhealthawareness

ROSE WATER: benefits and the only the UK’s only home-produced Rose water. ๐ŸŒนโš˜๐Ÿฅ€

I was reading one of my magazine subscriptions ‘in the moment’ which I have reviewed on this blog and I found this brilliant article about rose water and I thought I would share it.

Why use Rose water?

The tradition of using rose water as medicine and tonic dates as far back as the 7th century when it was used in Iran and the Middle East to treat a host of different ailments. Rose water also has a very interesting culinary history, flavouring both sweet and savoury dishes most often recognised in Turkish delight.

The best quality rose water is created through a single distillation of rose petals in steam, this contains all the essential oils from the roses making it wonderfully fragrant, pure with no additives chemicals or preservatives.

Most commercial rose water however, is a by-product of the rose oil industry. Roses are distilled and the oil extracted from the distilled liquids, it is made this way because distillation is an expensive process and as a result many rose scents and flavourings in mass produced rose water are synthesized- the final rose water product being a shadow of its former self.

Pure rose water is amazing stuff and far better!

I bet you didn’t know that rose petals are nutritionally dense, containing vitamins a b c and E and they are packed with a host of powerful antioxidants, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities.

  1. Radiant skin: rosewater is used as skin care as it’s naturally occurring antioxidants help to keep skin nourish and it healthy by protecting skin cells against damage and boosting our skins ability to protect us from pollution and UV radiation from the sun. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make rosewater very helpful in treating specific skin conditions like eczema and rosacea as it has a cooling effect, soothing irritation. It is an antiseptic and antimicrobial which can also be used as an effective acne treatment killing off the bacteria and helping to heal scars.

I had never heard of this when I was reading this article, I suffer with acne due to my polycystic ovary syndrome I definitely want to give rosewater a try, pure rose water of course.

2. Stress and low mood: rosewater is recognised for its antidepressants and anti anxiety properties.

๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ใ€Š– This was my exact reaction when I was reading this part of the article about how rose water can help stress and low mood.

Another reason why I want to try it. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜โš˜โš˜

A 2009 us study found that inhaling rose water or rose essential oils can help relax us by significantly decreasing our breathing rate and heart rate which is essential with people with anxiety and depression, as this can often make them feel unwell and increase other symptoms that adjoining these conditions.

The participants in the study reported feeling more relaxed, calmer and less alert through using rose water or rose essential oils; for this reason rose essential oils are used in aromatherapy with people who have anxiety and depression.

3. Headaches and migraines: rose water commonly used in aromatherapy also has the ability to help with migraines and headaches due to its relaxing properties. More studies are needed but from the study above of how rose water helps with stress and low mood, it is believed that rose water can help alleviate headaches and migraines.

4. Digestion: sweet rose water has been found to have a soothing effect on our digestive system, easing bloating and minor stomach upsets and constipation. Simply adding a few drops to some tonic can do the trick.

5. Flavour: rose water was the choice of flavouring for bakers a century ago, rather than the vanilla extract we use now. Its sweet floral flavour is making a triumphant come back. Rose water accompanies strawberries, apples, peach, citrus, almonds and chocolate.

Check out these great recipes below:

https://www.brit.co/rosewater-sweets/

http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-use-rosewater-in-delicious-desserts-and-drinks/

https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/rose_raspberry_and_51644

Rose Water Tea Cake, For Two

https://www.yummly.com/recipes/desserts-with-rose-water

The UK’s only home-produced pure rose water.

Desdemona and Denise: the power ladies who produce the UK’s only pure rose water.

Their business is called ‘ Petals of the valley’ and suiting to the name they are based in wonderful Wales! ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ท๓ ฌ๓ ณ๓ ฟ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

Here’s a little bit about them: taken from their website linked into this picture.

They seem like the ultimate wonder women. It is so refreshing and empowering to see women set up a successful business and produce something so wonderful.

Their rose water is not only UK home produced but…

You can buy their wonderful products at:

http://www.petalsofthevalley.co.uk/about-us/4543026498

Here is a selection of their amazing products.

In conclusion:

I am definitely going to adapt rose essential oils into my aromatherapy to help with my anxiety and depression AND pure rose water LOCALLY SOURCED into my skin regime to help with my hormonal acne and from tops wonderful ladies too.

I am definitely going to purchase some.

What a wonderful discovery. Thanks ‘in the moment’ magazine.

I hope you enjoyed this read and will think of buying some too.

Until next time.

Faye x

#holistic #holisticmedicine #rose #roses #flowerpower #naturalremedies #depressionandanxietyremedies #buylocal #welshbusinesses #womeninbusiness #nature #natureswonders #flowers #magazines #skincare #health

Chronic fatigue syndrome: overdoing it again. ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ญ

I was definitely on a high yesterday, so energetic and full of beans. I was super productive in the morning and then quite busy at work after a bank holiday I was happy, making others at work happy, my concentration was amazing, my mood was at its highest and I felt great.

Then when I got home I started feeling it…, my legs felt so sore like lead weights along with pins and needles, my chest hurts, my heart rate is elevated along with my anxiety… I definitely pushed myself a bit too much considering I’m still on my period.

I also think I am getting affected by my mums mood. She is going through some stress at the moment and I help her as much as I can but theres only so much I can do.

Whenever she gets herself at max threshold she always takes her moods out on me and vents quite a lot at me.

I want her to vent as it makes me feel better but as I love and care about her very much and I’m an empath, it really affects my energy and energy mindset.

I’ve tried to stay out of her way a bit the past few days and just let her get on with it… I’m hoping in the next few days things will start improving a bit and she will be better in herself and stop being so snappy and venting at me so much because lately it feels like no matter what I do she’s still having a pop at me, when I know its nothing really to do with me, I’m just the closest to her.

My chronic fatigue is definitely affecting me right now, all I want to do is sleep- everything hurts! I am really tired hoping to concentrate and stay awake at work..I think it’s a long bath and early night for me, depending when I get home from work.

Why do I always do this to myself ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

โ–กChronic fatigue Syndrome sucks!! #chronicfatigue #chronicfatiguesyndrome #morethantired #aching #mentalhealth #mentalhealthissues #mentalhealthblog #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthblogger #mentalhealthadvocate #mentalhealthwarrior #mentalhealthmatters