More and more of us are beginning to realise how important pollinators are for our gardens. It’s estimated that 84% of crops, 80% of wildflowers and many garden flowers depend on insect pollination. So the role bees play in our garden is pretty important!
Many people are aware of the role of honey bees in the food chain, however they are not the most effective pollinators. Therefore the work of solitary bees and bumblebees is very important as they pollinate crops such as apples, strawberries, potatoes etc. So how do you make your garden bee friendly? Here’s our ‘top tips’ to encourage and keep these essential pollinators in and around your garden.
How to welcome bees into your Garden
Plant Bee Friendly Plants
First are foremost, make sure that you plant plenty of pollen-rich flowers by planting containers and pots of bee friendly plants to provide pollen and nectar for bees. Everyone can do this – even if you don’t have a garden, a pot or two on a balcony or doorstep can make all the difference. Many of the flowers, plants and shrubs at Simpsons will have Bee Friendly logos on them, making it really easy to select the ones that the bees make a ‘bee line’ for.
Avoid plants with double or muli-petalled flowers as they are harder for the bees to access and may not have as much pollen as other varieties. Here’s a list of some of the best plants to have in your garden this spring and summer:
Hypericum, Lavender, Hebes, Potentilla, Helleborus, Iberis, Cornus, Euphorbia, Cistus, Scabious, Skimmia, Erysimum and Ceanothus, Sedum, Viburnum and Sunflowers to name just a few.
Creating a wild flower garden in an empty patch of ground, border or even in a container is also a great way to encourage bees into your garden. Look out for wildflower seed packets in store.
Wild About Gardens
Without bees, we would be unable to grow lots of our favourite foods, including tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries and green beans. They also contribute over £650 million a year to our economy! As well as being fascinating insects, these creatures are a vital part of our world and need our protection. Find out more by downloading the info pack from Wild About Gardens website:
Create and protect potential nesting sites within your garden
Some species set up home in different places, you can also pick up bee homes. Kids can create a bee nest by placing strips of bamboo canes into an old plant pot or the bottom part of a plastic bottle and hang from a tree, or by drilling holes into untreated wood blocks which can be distributed throughout the garden in sheltered, sunny dry spots. Alternatively we also stock a wide variety of ready made bee homes in store.
Provide long and short grass areas
The perfect excuse to leave sections of your lawn with longer grass areas! By providing different length grasses this helps shelter bees and will give them potential nest areas.
Provide a water source.
As well as birds, bees enjoy a drink too. By creating a wildlife pond with wildlife friendly plants you can encourage them in. You can also look at creating a mini watering hole with a pot sunk into the ground, or even adding a few pebbles or stones into a bird bath, which will help the bees reach the water.
Help a tired bee.
If you see a bumble bee on the ground, chances are it’s tired and in need of some food. One of the quickest and easiest ways to help is by mixing some sugar with water on a teaspoon and placing it in front of the bee. Once it’s had a feed it will ‘bee’ on it’s way!