Charles Church

Caring for wildlife in your garden

10 simple bee-garden tips: why saving your time can also help protect our precious pollinators

To celebrate World Bee Day, we’ve created a few helpful tips to help bring your own bee sanctuary to life, and keep your day-to-day gardening simple. 

They may be small, however bees are vitally important to our environment and way of life. A key pollinator in our ecosystem, bees help a huge variety of plants and trees to grow, breed and produce food that we rely on. They also pollinate a variety of wildflowers across the beautiful British countryside, making the spring and summer months alive with colour.

Flowers

 

Trim your lawn mid-July

First on the list is to delay your annual lawn trim when spring arrives. Instead wait until mid-July, then you’re giving pollinators, such as bees, the chance to feed on the maximum amount of food that’s available in your garden.

Add blue and purple blooms to your garden

The perfect bee sanctuary needs a variety of nectar-giving plants, and bees love blue and purple flowering varieties (as they can’t see the red side of the colour spectrum). Whichever plants you choose, aim for the longest flowering period possible, and a variety of flower shapes in order to cater for different species of bee. Species that are ideal include: bluebells, foxgloves, crocus, English Lavender, vipers bugloss, comfrey and catmint. 

Keep any hollow-habitat spaces

Avoid the urge to trim any flowers, or cut down hollow branches from trees. This helps bees enormously, as they use such hollow spaces as naturally available habitat and shelter. And if you don’t have any trees in your garden, you can add a ready-made bee house that pollinators will love.

flowers

Make a bee-friendly water feature

Flying around all day is thirsty work, and you may not believe it but bees also need water to live and thrive. To create an ideal bee-friendly water station, arrange a pool in your garden of any size and add fresh water. Be sure to also include pebbles, as they will break the water’s surface and make an easy spot for parched pollinators to relax, without the danger of falling in. Be sure to also decorate your outdoor space with garden ornaments, for a unique and playful touch. 

Go chemical free

When planning and preparing your garden, it’s important to avoid using harmful pesticides and herbicides. Chemicals intended to kill plants are also detrimental to wildlife, and unfortunately bees can also carry them throughout the ecosystem. Other pest-control solutions include removing unwanted insects by hand (with gloves), and supporting the ‘good bugs’ in your garden which eat plant-munching insects such as aphids.

hedgehog

No-garden solutions

You don’t need a lot of space to create a thriving bee sanctuary, in fact, you don’t even need a garden. To create plenty of pollen-filled food for our pollinating friends, simply add flower pots or window boxes to outdoor spots that you want to brighten up and pick your favourite pro-bee plants (to help start you off, use the varieties mentioned in this article).

Leave a patch of your garden untouched

Although we know them best as ‘buzzing’ bees flying through the air, 70% of bees actually are ground-nesters. And the perfect home is a piece of earth that is left undisturbed year-round, so that they can hibernate ready for springtime.

Keep and add trees

Another big source of ideal habitat and food for bees (and other wildlife), trees are nature’s key organisms that connect the entire ecosystem. Pollinators get most of their nectar from surrounding trees, and varieties such as maples, redbuds and black cherry are perfect for attracting and supporting the bee population. Not only that, they sequester carbon, cool air temperatures and help to regulate the environment.

 trees

Use peat-free compost

Vital to the environment, peat is a naturally occurring soil layer that sequesters carbon, regulates the environment and provides a ready-made habitat for rare species. Over-harvested due to its high nutrient content, it’s important to find peat-free ways to create healthy soil for your garden. These can include wood chips, compost, sand and bentonite clay.

Support your local beekeeper

A very simple way to support your local bee population is to purchase products from beekeepers in your region. This can range from honey to beeswax, and it has also been suggested that eating honey from your local area can support a healthy immune system. 

 

 

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