Creating a buzz with Operation PolliNation

Bee-friendly flowerbeds will be popping up everywhere as the CountryLife Garden Centre network is donating free flowering perennials and wild flower seeds to 24 Tidytowns and communities to help protect species at risk of extinction.

The leading farm and rural retailer, owned by Glanbia Ireland, is also giving free wildflower seeds to customers at its network of 14 award-winning CountryLife garden centres across Leinster and Munster and is highlighting in-store which plants are particularly pollinator -friendly.

Buzzing with excitement! At the launch of Glanbia Ireland’s ‘Operation PolliNation’ programme were Glanbia Marketing Executive Jess Kelly with bumblebees, Sofia Moloney (6) and Pippa Wallace (7). As part of ‘Operation PolliNation, Glanbia is donating free flowering perennials and wild flower seed to 24 Tidytowns and community groups and is giving free wildflower seeds to customers at its network of 14 award-winning CountryLife garden centres across Leinster and Munster. Picture: Patrick Browne

CountryLife’s in-store horticulturalists are promoting natural pest control methods and providing free information for customers to help them to reduce or eliminate their use of herbicides.

Across the wider Glanbia Ireland group, the company has added pollinator-friendly planted containers and bug hotels in all of its company offices dotted across Ireland. It has also distributed pollinator-friendly garden guidelines to all its 2,000 staff.

Glanbia Ireland’s Jessica Kelly said their actions are designed to help further boost awareness among gardeners of the actions they can take to help biodiversity in their gardens. “Our Irish growers & suppliers, Tully Nurseries and Young Nurseries, donated 1000’s of pollinating plants and Hygeia also donated thousands of Sutton’s Wildflower Seeds for customers and staff.

“One third of our bee species are threatened with extinction. We want to play our part in protecting Irish bees. What better way to do this than helping our customers to sow Irish-grown plants that bees prefer. 

“We also want to give back to our local communities in a visible way and support the tireless voluntary work done by our local Tidytowns groups. The feedback from our own staff has been very encouraging and we’re keen that this spreads across the wider communities we work and live in.”

Making your garden more bee-friendly

Horticulturalist at CountryLife’s Castlecomer centre, Teresa Walsh, said even gardeners with a tiny piece of ground can do their bit to help our bees. She highlighted that it is critically important to choose the right site and proper terrain to get maximum results.

“More and more customers are asking us what they can do to help our bees and which plants or seed to choose. We’re thrilled to be the drivers of Operation PolliNation. It is equally important though that seed bought is properly sown.

“When choosing your pollinator patch, select wisely and do your preparation work. If you want to sow a wildflower garden, you need to prep and sow it properly. Dig out a flat area and rake it off.  Don’t add farmyard manure or anything – they don’t like or need extra feed. Scatter the seed and rake it off again to provide a light dusting over the seeds. This also stop birds feasting on them. Sprinkle with water – particularly if rain is not due within 48 hours.  

“Wild flower gardens thrive in sunny, flat terrain. But there are also shaded mixtures on the market as well as others that give you even more colour. Once the flowers bloom, sit back, relax and enjoy and know you’re doing your bit to help pollinators do their work,” she suggested.

To learn more about making your garden bee-friendly check out our blogs on growing flowers from seed and making your garden more pollinator-friendly.