Making A Bee-Friendly Public Space: Tools & Structures


Now I’ve seen one (bumble) bee on the zigzag, more may arrive. So  I want to encourage them stay within a safe area as they feed. Is it possible?

The city council owns the zigzag. Even though it’s for pedestrians only, it’s officially a road. Quite a long stretch of road. And I’ve agreed to care for a section of it in return for the city council NOT SPRAYING in that area. A neighbour’s agreed to look after some land outside her place on the same terms. But spraying continues in other parts of the zigzag.

outline on zigzag
‘my’ section outlined in red

Today, my priority is to try to protect bees from flowers in the SPRAY area, including the  acanthus.

Because I’ve been told that bees don’t like red and avoid geraniums, I’ve removed geraniums  from the areas where I have bee-loved flowers in bloom. Next, I’ll transplant these geraniums along the left-side red line including where it joins the the top line, on the boundary  between the  land I’ve agreed to care for and the upper part of the zigzag, where the city council will continue to spray weeds. I hope this will keep the bees safe now that they’re flying in.

I also have to protect the plants from dogs and cats. They roam  freely all over the zigzag. Some dog owners pick up their dogs’ faeces. Some don’t. No-one attempts to clean up after the cats. Dogs and cats and birds enjoy newly dug earth too. So I’m putting nets over new plants. Or a bit of chicken wire. That’s the remains of a roll of chicken wire, between my big fork and rectangular spade.


I bought the chicken wire to make containers for weeds I’ve pulled out. Cages. Borrowed some cutters from another neighbour,  cut a rectangle, pulled the ends together and twisted the wire ends around each other.

Making cage

The cages are at various places on the zigzag now. I tucked the latest behind two tree trunks.

new cage

Someone stole it  within 48 hours. Left the weeds behind. (Someone also stole a tomato stake.)

A second cage is already full. With some seaweed dropped on top.

full cage

The  neighbour-with-the-cutters and I have also started a hugelkultur,  a raised garden bed filled with rotten wood, where we can grow things without fertiliser or irrigation. (There’s no water supply on the zigzag so I use a watering can, though I could also try my own garden’s hose, stretched to its limit or extended.)

The hugelkultur seems like a great way to process the zigzag’s old wood and new trimmings. This is what it’s meant to look like when complete.


This is what it looks like now, there on the right in the background, behind the new all-wool weedmat along the geranium  boundary.


Like everything else in the bee plan, the  hugelkultur and the plantings are going to take time.

But it’s worth it. Just found this new poster about neonics. Lost and confused? Illness and death? Not around here, I hope.


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