Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 03-02-2015 Contents 9 - Tuesday, February 3, 2015
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Caring for bees and other beneficials
Insect hotels provide a sanctuary for bees and other beneficial insects.
In the garden
A 2008 parliamentary inquiry into the
future of the honey bee, reported that
access to floral resources was crucial
. . . recommending that the Australian
government provide incentives for the
planting and conservation of
An apparent worldwide decline in
bee population has caused
considerable concern for some years
and many since-substantiated theories
have been advanced.
Changing land management -- ever
increasing areas of monoculture with
an accompanying loss of habitat and a
natural food supply, as well as
agricultural practices, may well have
led to weaker immune systems.
Honey bees, loyal to one type of
blossom when foraging, have a strong
inclination to forage along rows so that
pesticides, particularly those known as
neocotinoids, commonly used on
broad acreage, can contaminate the
pollen that is taken back to feed hives.
Mites in the US intensified drought,
as they did in South Australia in 2013,
causing considerable losses and the
winter conditions in the northern
Gardeners who have had minimal
crops due to non-pollination can do
their bit to encourage healthy
populations by using only natural
remedies to combat pests as well as
planting proven forage plants such as
lavender, rosemary, catmint, salvia,
grevilleas, banksias and prunus.
Small, readymade insect hotels
which provide a secure nesting site for
beneficial insects are available from
some nurseries and garden centres.
Alternatively you might like to
make something unique by recycling
useful house, garden and plant
Fill a number of structures within a
hardwood frame with a variety of
habitats ranging from small bundles of
straw, bamboo, clay and timber drilled
with varying depths of holes 3mm-
10mm in diameter.
Leaf cutting bees, they have visited
if you have any oval or semi-circular
shaped holes in your rose foliage, and
solitary native bees -- both great
pollinators -- will lay their eggs in the
compartments provided, as will
predatory wasps, lacewings, ladybirds,
moths and spiders.
Although usually best done
immediately after flowering,
it's still not too late to lift and
divide bearded iris where
necessary. Use the strongest
of the outer rhizomes,
trimming back the roots and
top leaf growth by a third
before setting out in
replenished ground with at
least half of the topside of the
rhizome exposed to full
Once crops have been
picked and the weather
becomes a little cooler, stone
fruit trees can be beneficially
pruned. Summer and early
autumn cuts heal far more
quickly, with fewer bacterial
problems than they would
have if they were cut back in
Roses trimmed back in
December and given a
summer rest can now be fed
with general fertiliser or a
proprietary mix such as
Sudden Impact for Roses.
Apply to damp ground and
water in before replenishing
any mulch to encourage a
good display of autumn
Check the moisture
content of potted plants
placed beneath house eaves.
Remember to top up drinking
bowls daily. Not only for dogs
and birds but insects that
require water while foraging.
on your doorstep
Our bush capital
Fortunately you don t have to venture
to Kakadu national park to experience
a stunning wetland environment.
In the heart of our bush capital,
nestled away at the top of the
Molonglo River floodplains as it
meanders into Lake Burley Griffin, is
Jerrabomberra wetlands nature
reserve. It will captivate your
imagination and spark your curiosity
to learn more about these wetlands
which have national and international
Jerrabomberra wetlands play an
important role in our ecosystem,
offering a vast array of remarkable
habitats, including mudflats, reed
beds, grasslands, dense riparian
vegetation, each supporting a rich
assortment of wildlife.
The area is a refuge for migrating
birds from the northern hemisphere
and inland Australia. If you are very
lucky, it is possible to see an elusive
platypus as it goes about its business.
TAKE YOUR VALENTINE
TO A NATIVE GARDEN
Far better than sending cut flowers this
Valentines Day, wander through a
native Australian open garden.
Diana s Garden, 72 Fidge Street,
Calwell, is open on February 14 and
15 from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Designed
as a continuation of the Tuggernanong
Hill bushland, the garden features
white flowering shrubs, pink kunzeas,
banksias, yellow chrysocephalum
apiculatum and lomandras.
Admission is $8.
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