10 Ways to Create a Bee Friendly Garden
“Mankind will not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years” (Albert Einstein)
Whilst not disappeared completely, the world’s bee population has been in decline since 2006, and in the UK we have already lost 13 species, with another 35 currently at risk. We can all do our bit to help maintain our native bee population by planting bee friendly gardens. This is easily done by adhering to the following general rules:
1. Plant lots of local plants. Plants that are native to the area will be suited to the soil and climate, and the bees will be adapted to them.
2. Plant a variety of sizes, shapes and colours. Bees are particularly attracted to yellow, white, blue and purple flowers, and those with single rows of petals, because they have more nectar.
3. Bees love the following flowers: asters, clover, cosmos, dahlias, foxglove, geraniums, hollyhocks, poppies, roses, sunflowers and zinnias.
4. Avoid flowers with multiple layers of petals, or petals that form a tube, which make it difficult for the bee to reach the nectar. Modern hybrids often lose much of their nectar and scent during cultivation, so these are best avoided.
5. Plant in clumps. This makes the flowers easier to locate, and means the insects have less distance to travel in order to pollinate.
6. Choose plants that flower throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn, so bees can feed throughout the seasons.
7. Plant plenty of flowering vegetables and fruit plants such as cucumbers, squashes, melons, peppers, melons, strawberries and cherry trees.
8. Avoid pesticides and insectides.
9. Create a herb garden with flowering herbs such as mint, sage, bee balm, borage, catnip, coriander, fennel, lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme.
10. Now you have your bee friendly garden, why not invest in your very own hive? You can buy a beehive kit from Wido, which is suitable for beginners and seasoned enthusiasts. All you need to do is add the bees!