Gardens are our little patches of heaven where we like to relax at the end of the day and enjoy the best of what nature has to offer: the amazing colours and smell of our favourite flowers. But there’s someone else that loves gardens just as much as we do. Bees, our trusted hard-working pollinators, are equally mesmerised by all the flowers in our backyard and their tasty stores of nectar and pollen.
These little guys have been struggling for a while to find the food they need and, as a result, their numbers are declining. Luckily, our gardens can provide the shelter and food that the industrious bees need to keep doing their important job and bring life to our favourite crops.
If you want to help the bees, planting a bee garden is one of the best projects you can start this year. We’ll tell you all about it in this easy-to-follow guide. Here is how to make a bee garden, the easy way.
1. Choose bee-friendly flowers and trees
A DIY bee garden should provide bees with decent meals made of their favourites: nectar and pollen. The good news is that we’ve discovered a long time ago that certain flowers are more appealing to bees than others.
Here are some of the most beautiful additions to a bee-friendly garden, guaranteed to get bees buzzing.
Lavender, bluebells and echinacea purpurea come with amazing colours and will help create an eye-catching corner in your garden. Plus, they’re extremely attractive to all sorts of bees and pollinators. If you’re sensing there is a common theme going, you’re right! The colour purple is their favourite, so don’t hesitate to add plenty of this shade to your backyard. But you can add plenty of other flowers and colours too when planting a bee garden. Here is a handy list of bee-friendly flowers to get you started.
If you’re lucky to have enough space in your garden for trees, many of them will have bees queuing up for their flowers. Pretty much any fruit tree will do, but apple and cherry trees are some of their favourites. Plus, they’ll also provide you with an easy mid-day snack or delicious topping for your breakfast cereals.
Many of our favourite veggies have bee-friendly flowers, which means bees will help pollinate them for free. Onions, beans and peppers are great additions to a DIY bee garden, so don’t hesitate to add them to the list.
2. Plant flowers that are in bloom at different times of the year
Add flowers with different blooming schedules to your garden and bees will thank you for it. After all, they need to collect their nectar and pollen goodies all year long, so a mix of early- and late-season flowers is one of the best tricks for planting a bee garden. This way your backyard will be full of flowers and humming bees from early spring until well after the summer is over.
3. Avoid using pesticides
Pesticides are extremely toxic to bees and are likely to kill most of them. In fact, they’re one of the causes for their dwindling numbers. So, it’s best to try to avoid them altogether and instead use smart gardening methods such as natural fertilisers that will keep your plants growing strong to be able to fight off some of the pest attacks on their own. There are also many plant combinations that work great at repelling these tiny attackers, so it’s a good idea to look out for these pairs of companion plants first, before thinking about using chemicals.
Keep in mind that pests of some kind will always be part of your gardening routine and some of them are not actual enemies, but can be your garden’s best friends.
4. Avoid plants with lots of petals
Some of the best flowers for planting in a bee garden are the ones that don’t have that many petals. Double flowers can also be difficult to navigate. So, keep this in mind when choosing plants for your bee garden.
5. Don’t get rid of all the weeds
Weeds have an important part to play in a bee garden, so don’t hesitate to leave a patch of your backyard to go a bit wild. Dandelions and thistles are full of nectar so they’ll attract bees from far and wide, while hollow stems provide a good shelter and nest for these hard-working insects.
6. Make bee hotels
Now that bees are well-fed with various nectar-rich delicacies, it’s time to think about providing them with a good shelter as well. You can easily build one for the solitary pollinators in your garden. All you need is a wooden box, a few hollow stems of different diameters for bees to nest in and a fixture to hang the bee hotel with. Find out more details with our easy guide for building your own bee hotel.
7. Provide a good source of water for the bees
Don’t forget that bees need to keep hydrated as well. The key is to keep a shallow water source available in your garden. You could use a tray with a bit of water and place a few rocks in it to give the bees a solid ground from which to drink.
We hope you found our list of tips for planting a bee garden helpful and you’re ready to get the job started.
Don’t forget to use the free Cheerios pack of seeds in your garden to get you started on this lovely mission to support the bees.
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