Bees. A gardener’s best friend and a key part of a flower’s life cycle – what would we do without them?
In our eyes, a garden without bees is a sad one. A true sign that spring has finally arrived is a blooming, natural area adorned with young flowers and buzzing with bees – it makes for the perfect summer day sat out on your rattan garden furniture and watching nature pass you by.
In order to experience this, though, you’ll need to create a bee friendly garden. How we hear you ask? Well, it’s much easier than you think.
Make it wild
Believe it or not, bees don’t need anything fancy to be attracted to your garden. In fact, the more natural you can keep your garden, the more likely it will be that you’ll see bees buzzing around.
We’re not saying leave your garden to its own devices – simply dedicate one area to a being “wild” to attract all the good bugs, insects and animals – you’ll start to notice them branching (no pun intended) out into other areas of your garden in no time.
Flowers are incredibly important to bees, but some attract them more than others. Single-headed flowers such as daisies are a firm favourite with bees as they produce a lot of easily accessible nectar and pollen. More showy options make it more difficult to pollinate and will put bees off.
Even plants which have two blooms aren’t as attractive to bees as there is less nectar and pollination requires more effort.
It’s always a good idea to try and plant some native flowers in your garden, too. As these will be widely available in the area you live in, it’s more than likely to attract bees who are on a circuit around your area if they recognise a familiar scent.
A bee bath
It might sound like a completely ridiculous idea, but hear us out.
Bees, like most animals, need access to clean water in order to survive. Now, we’re not saying put our a fancy little tub and a bathrobe for your fuzzy friends; instead, fill a shallow container with fresh water and add some pebbles and twigs directly to the water so that the bees can land and drink safely from the container
Remember to top up regularly to keep them coming back.
Unless you have a hive in your garden, you’ll want to consider creating some form of shelter for your bees should the weather turn against them or they simply need a rest – pollinating is hard work, you know!
Anything that will shelter bees from the elements will do – a broken, upturned plant pot, a log or woodpile – even using bamboo canes pushed into the ground or piled up can provide a safe haven for smaller bee species.
As spring is on its way and with the UK’s bees being at risk from pesticides, there’s never been a more important time for the bee friendly garden. Will you do your bit to help them?