Why did my bee garden die last year?

(33 Posts)
Soubriquet Sun 18-Apr-21 15:04:01

Last year in late spring, I planted some bee friendly plants (lavender and other sorts) and added a bee bar (basically a bowl with water in and stones so they don’t drown) to encourage the bees.
I watered it and made sure I took care of it yet by the end of summer everything had died. Even the lavender which I thought was quite a hardy plant.

I’m going to try and plant a new garden this year but could anyone tell me some tips on how to keep things alive and advise as to why they might have died?

OP’s posts: |
billybagpuss Sun 18-Apr-21 15:18:53

I’m surprised you killed the lavender, but they can sometimes be temperamental, what else did you have in there? It was a hot summer, you might find some things will come back,

Soubriquet Sun 18-Apr-21 15:24:44

I can’t remember what else was there now and I was shocked the lavender died too

Dh dig it all up so no chance it will come back angry

OP’s posts: |
GreenSlide Sun 18-Apr-21 15:51:03

I have awful luck with flower beds. My most precious plants are always planted in pots so they can come in for winter. Did you cut everything back and mulch the bed at the end of summer?

BigWolfLittleWolf Sun 18-Apr-21 16:35:05

I’m not sure if it would still apply up north, but I’m in the south east and penstemons and snapdragons are reliably hardy for me, long flowering and bees love them.

Soubriquet Sun 18-Apr-21 16:42:06

Thanks

I’ll try those and might get some lavender from the garden centre this time as opposed to the supermarket. That might be a bit hardier

OP’s posts: |
Maltesercake Sun 18-Apr-21 16:43:42

Did you follow the instructions on the lavender plant label - ie was it in well drained soil, sunny position etc?

Smelborp Sun 18-Apr-21 16:46:24

You need to check the soil and light - lavender don’t like soil that’s too heavy (clay) from memory and they are a full sun plant. What are your conditions?

Soubriquet Sun 18-Apr-21 16:50:33

Soil is probably a problem. It’s quite grainy as opposed to soily..

We get lots of sun in the garden

OP’s posts: |
TonTonMacoute Sun 18-Apr-21 16:57:41

Lavender should prefer a grainy soil - it likes stony, well drained ground and quite dry. Definitely worth buying from a more reliable source.

Are you sure the other plants weren't annuals?

Soubriquet Sun 18-Apr-21 16:59:11

I really don’t know

Dh planted them as a surprise and he has more of a green finger than me but even he was baffled at the loss of them

OP’s posts: |
Moondust001 Sun 18-Apr-21 16:59:40

Soubriquet

I can’t remember what else was there now and I was shocked the lavender died too

Dh dig it all up so no chance it will come back angry

I - you are my best friend, aren't you? She can kill anything. After years at it I am still trying to explain to her that plants needs both food and water!

YoComoManzanas Sun 18-Apr-21 17:02:30

I assume the lack of rain last year was the problem. Its looking to be the same this year too.

BigWolfLittleWolf Sun 18-Apr-21 17:04:55

‘Open’ roses aswell, the ones where you can see the yellow stamens in the middle when they bloom are popular too and very, very hardy.
I have a lovely cultivar called Arthur bell, insects love it and it’s long flowering and scented

BigWolfLittleWolf Sun 18-Apr-21 17:08:30

I’ve just seen the update about poor, grainy soil, Gaura tends to do well in poor soils. As does Buddleja, you can get some lovely dwarf buddleja

Maltesercake Sun 18-Apr-21 17:09:23

How much did you water it? I grow lavender very successfully along a south facing wall. Full sun, very warm. Absolutely terrible soil - the kind of rubbish builders throw in, full of rocks and bits of plastic. Watered once when I planted it then left to it’s own devices. It’s now huge! I’d try just not caring for it!

It’s also worth thinking about what kind of lavender - English lavender is hardier than French.

apalledandshocked Sun 18-Apr-21 17:10:04

It might also be that you overwatered the lavender? Thats always been how I have managed to kill it. Although it is tricky because in a very hot, dry summer you would need to water a bit I suppose to get the balance right. But I think trying to keep the soil consistently moist (in the case of lavender) would not be good for it.

MrsBertBibby Sun 18-Apr-21 17:10:32

Nepeta is also very popular with bees. Lots of different kinds, and sizes.

apalledandshocked Sun 18-Apr-21 17:13:10

One more thought - are there any weeds growing in your former bee garden at the moment? Were there any before you planted it? If EVERYTHING you planted died, and there isnt much there now that could indicate an actual problem with the soil in that spot (maybe contamination of some kind)

beginningoftheend Sun 18-Apr-21 17:13:10

Hi, this can happen sometimes. A common issue is over-watering - many people kill their plants by over-watering. But if it has happened once it is a good idea to go back to basics before replanting.

How much sun does that bed get?
Is your soil acidic, alkali or neutral?
How wet is your soil?

I planted an area and it went badly - when I did a sun study my estimation of how much sun it got was vastly out. I can not grow lavendar in that spot, it does live but it is so unhappy it always looks scrappy. I have replanted with plants that are happier in shade and moist soil.

Soubriquet Sun 18-Apr-21 17:25:30

apalledandshocked

One more thought - are there any weeds growing in your former bee garden at the moment? Were there any before you planted it? If EVERYTHING you planted died, and there isnt much there now that could indicate an actual problem with the soil in that spot (maybe contamination of some kind)

Actually..there isn’t anything growing there now. Not even weeds so I’m guessing the soil must be very poor

OP’s posts: |
BigWolfLittleWolf Sun 18-Apr-21 17:43:20

Actually..there isn’t anything growing there now. Not even weeds so I’m guessing the soil must be very poor
In a sunny area you say?
If there isn’t even a dandelion I suspect a problem with the soil too.

Can you add a bag or two of compost to it?
If budget allows, I’d be tempted to empty out and discard pretty much all of the grainy ‘soil’ and replace with compost.
But not if you want to grow lavender, that would prefer a grittier/fast draining soil mix.

Soubriquet Sun 18-Apr-21 17:52:59

Thank you. I’ll get some compost in and see if that does anything

I’ll probably get a pot for the lavender and pot it instead. Might have it live a bit longer

OP’s posts: |
BigWolfLittleWolf Sun 18-Apr-21 18:07:00

Sometimes garden centres have standard English lavender, which is where the lavender has been pruned to look like a tree, that would be lovely in spot underplanted with one of the dwarf Gaura cultivars or another short plant that prefers poorer soil.

BigWolfLittleWolf Sun 18-Apr-21 18:07:27

*POT, not spot hmm

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