Bee Friendly Gardens

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Attract a large variety of bees by planting daisies, zinnias and asters.

Since 1900, the UK has lost 13 species of bee. A further 35 species are considered to be under threat of extinction and unfortunately, none of the bee species are protected by laws. Countries across Europe are also seeing the numbers of bees declining and nearly 1 in 10 wild bee species are facing extinction. Today, in Britain, there are currently 250 species of bee. The most common British Bee species are honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees. As bees are sadly declining at an alarming rate it’s important that we all encourage bees into our gardens. Bees have a lot of importance, helping foods grow and encouraging plants to flourish and bloom. They play a vital role; they’re an essential part in the pollination of a plant during its life cycle. Therefore, it’s important that we all encourage bees into our gardens throughout the year. Planting nectar and pollen rich flowers will help to do this.

When you’re choosing plants for attracting bees and other pollinators, look for flat or shallow blossom plants such as daisies, zinnias and asters, these will attract the largest variety of bees. Long-tongued bees will be attracted to plants in the mint family, such as nepeta, salvia, oregano, mint and lavender. Long-tongued bumblebees are attracted to flowers with hidden nectar spurs, such as larkspur, monkshood and snapdragons.

Colour matters! Bees are more drawn to blue, purple and yellow flowers and therefore, find them the most appealing. Bees can see the colour purple more vividly than the majority of other colours. Bluebells and Forget-Me-Not are spring favourites.

As Bees are most active between March and September, it’s great to choose a selection of plants that will flower across the different months of most of the season so you can attract bees all year round. One flower in particular that is great to have in the garden and flowers pretty much every day of the year is Erysimum bicolor ‘Bowles’s Mauve’. If you have the room in your garden, why not create a mini wildflower meadow in your garden using a variety of flowers in your garden? Bees will certainly love this!

An easy way to attract bees is to install an Insect house or a Bee box in your garden, this will provide a home and will give more nesting opportunities for solitary bees and insects, therefore, encouraging them to nest in your garden. Another option is to create a deadwood habitat within your garden. This simple, easy to create idea helps to create a more natural environment. Simply, find a few logs of wood and pile them up horizontally. Bees prefer sunnier locations. Just like us humans, bees and other pollinators need water to survive. A pond is a natural and safe source of water that allows bees to easily drink from.

Boyd Douglas Davies, March 2022.

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