Want to use your garden, allotment, windowsill for the greater good? Now you can. You just need to know how to attract bees into your garden. Like many people, I find spending time in the garden relaxing. I love gardening. It’s relaxing. And my mental health benefits from being outside in nature. But spending time outside can also be a stressful, anxiety-inducing experience for me too. Most people who know me are aware of my phobia of bees and wasps. They’ve probably all witnessed me, at one time or another, dropping whatever I’m doing and making a run for it. Usually with a bee or wasp (but sometimes a fly) left in my wake. But despite my complicated feelings towards them, I do understand how important bees are for the environment. And why they need our help more than ever.
Why do the bees need our help?
Bees are so important to a healthy environment. They pollinate our crops. It’s estimated that one-third of the food items we eat depend on this pollination from the bees. But they are at risk due to the changes in climate. Shifts to the seasons and more extreme weather condition are making it harder for bees to find food, nests and shelter. The threat of climate change is ensuring that bees are losing their habitat and becoming more at risk. So when The Grass People got in touch to promote their Bees & Pollinators Wildflower Seed, in a bid to save the bees, I was excited to get involved. And to come up with a whole host of ideas on how everyone can get involved at home. So if you’re looking for some simple ways on how to attract bees into your garden, I’ve got a few suggestions.
Plant The Grass People’s Wildflower Seed
Creating your own wildflower meadow in your garden is an ideal way to attract bees into your space. And The Grass People have created this fantastic Bees & Pollinators seed mix to do just that. Inside the 100g or 1kg packs is a blend of wildflowers, all of which have been recommended on the RHS Plants for Pollinators list. These flowers all work well with most soil types, are colourful and have excellent bee attracting abilities too. We’re talking Oxeye Daisy, Cow Parsley, Foxglove, Corn Poppy and Marigolds, plus so many more.
Build a bee hotel
Gardens aren’t always the most bee-friendly places. And over the past 60 years, they’ve lost 97% of their natural habitat, wildflower-rich meadows. They now have to travel a fair way to find nectar, so it’s only polite to provide a pit stop for those tired bees. The picture above is a pre-made bee hotel, which is great if you want to help but can’t be bothered to make one yourself. Or if you have some old bricks to spare. Or a neighbour with a skip, who’s happy for you to go rummaging. That’s perfect! Just try to pick bricks with holes in, to allow the bees to climb inside and rest.
Never use pesticides
If you’re growing your own, whether it is fruit, vegetables, herbs or flowers, never use pesticides. Thankfully three of the bee-harming pesticides have been banned from all outdoor crops in the UK. So be sure to follow suit when working on your own veg patch, garden or allotment. If you notice pests, such as slugs or aphids, why not just try removing them by hand. With gardening gloves on, of course.
Plant through the seasons
Your garden isn’t just needed by the bees in spring and summer, they need it during all the seasons. So to ensure you provide year-round habitat for the bees, be sure to plant through the seasons. This may take a little planning in order to guarantee plants for the bees each season, but there is a lot of information out there on when to grow certain pollinating plants. Try growing sunflowers in spring. And plant your summer flowers in late winter and your spring flowers in autumn. By letting plants go to seed, you’re turning your garden into a private wildlife sanctuary, by also providing food and nutrients for other insects, birds and the soil.
Create a bee bath
Just like us, bees need water. It keeps their hive cool and also allows bees to make honey. But you don’t have to dig yourself a pond to help attract bees to your garden. A bucket or even a tray of water will do. Try to keep this full of rainwater if you can. And also place a few large stones, or wine corks in the water, to allow the bees a safe landing spot to drink. And if you do have a pond, try adding in some floating-leaved plants for the bees too.
Grow your own herbs
Bees love herbs. Some of the most common herbs, which are great to cook with, help the bees too. They provide them with nectar and pollen throughout the year. Some of the herbs that are great at attracting bees to your garden, or windowsill, include Rosemary, Mint, Chives, Thyme, Fennel and Sage. So why not give growing your own herbs a go? As well as fresh cooking ingredients every day, you’ll be helping a great cause too.
Making your garden more bee-friendly is a great way to ensure you’re doing your bit to help save the bees. But if you want to find out more about how you can help, there are some great resources out there. The British Beekeepers Association have some excellent information on their website, a shop and a place to donate too. Friends of the Earth also have some really helpful tips on how you can go further in your bid to help save the bees.
Until next time.
*NB* This post is part of a paid campaign with The Grass People, who also gifted me a packet of their Wildflower Seed. But please note that all views are my own.