Creating a Bee Friendly Garden
Not everyone can be a bee keeper. But even if you do not have the space or time to keep a hive alive, there is still plenty that you can do to help bees, and to attract wild, native species to your garden. Here are some of the measures that you can take to create a bee friendly garden. Attracting bees is not only a good thing for them – it will be good for you too. Attracting bees and other pollinators to your garden will help you grow your own food where you live.
The most important thing for any bee friendly gardener is to eschew the use of any harmful herbicides, pesticides, and other such chemicals. Such substances are putting bees and other wildlife in danger. The good news is that growing organic is easier than you might imagine. By adopting a series of easy practices, you too can grow your own food while doing no harm.
Choose the Right Blooms
Biodiversity is key in a bee friendly garden. But when it comes to planting your garden, remember that when attracting bees, not all flowers and plants were created equal. Some flowers are better for bees than others. Consider that:
- Single blooms are better for bees than doubles, as bees can reach the nectar and pollen more easily.
- Bees will tend to be attracted to purple blooms, as they can see these more clearly than those of other colours. But flowers of other colours can be attractive to bees too. Variety is key to attracting a wide range of bees and other pollinators.
- Long-tongued bees will appreciate bell or tubular-shaped flowers.
Make Sure Your Garden Flowers All Year Round
Even more important than choosing a range of the right kind of flowers for where you live is choosing flowers that are in bloom throughout as much of the year as possible. Aim to plant flowers which bloom in each season, so you can keep bees happy all year round. Especially important are flowers that bloom early in the year, when far fewer sources of nectar are available.
Provide Water For Wildlife
Bees do not only need nectar to thrive in your garden. Bees will also appreciate a source of water. A shallow, pebbly ‘beach’ area on the side of a garden wildlife pond is one good way to provide a place where bees can drink safely.
Make or Buy a Bee ‘Hotel’ & Create Bee Habitats
Depending on where you live, you may be able to attract a wide range of different types of bee to your garden. There are many bee types that can help you with the pollination of your food crops and your ornamentals. Build or buy bee ‘hotels’ with holes for solitary bees, leave plenty of dark fissures and holes for bees to hide in around your garden, and leave lawn areas un-mowed and soil undisturbed to give ground-dwelling bees a chance.
Life is hard for many bees. But creating a bee friendly garden is easier than you might imagine. Often, it is not what we do but what we don’t do that can make the difference.