If you want to attract these precious pollinators into your garden, here’s how.

British native bee species are in a worrying decline. Thirteen bee species have already become extinct in the UK since 1900, and a further 35 are on the threatened species list.

Climate change has caused seasonal shifts in weather patterns that have affected how bees feed and nest, leaving them vulnerable. Not only has the weather changed but, in the last 60 years, 97 per cent of Britain’s grasslands have been lost – the key habitat for our native bees. ?

But why should we care about the declining bee populations? Scientists estimate that 75 per cent of our global food crops are pollinated by bees and without them it would cost £1.8bn every year to pollinate the UK’s crops alone by hand.

So how can we as individuals support bees? Our gardens represent a patchwork of interconnecting food corridors and havens for bee species – with thoughtful planting and building bee friendly habitats within our own gardens we can provide rest and nourishment for bees, allow them to flourish and carry on with the amazing work they do for our food chain.

7 Tips For Attracting Bees To Your Garden



1. Choose single, open flowers where you can see the central part of the flower. As a rule of thumb, if you can see it, so can the bees! This allows them to access the nectar and pollen.

2. Avoid double or multi-petalled flowers that often lack nectar and pollen and that bees find hard to access.?

3. Plant wildflowers that have evolved naturally alongside our native bee species – they’re also more resistant to pests and easier to maintain, too.

4. Avoid pesticide use. Common insecticides containing neonoicotinoids kill bees, so do ensure you read labels carefully on any pesticides before use.

5. Bees can see the colour purple more clearly than any other colours, so try lavenders, alliums, cornflowers and buddleias as a beacon for passing bees.?

6. Build a bee house to provide nesting sites for solitary bees and other insects – face south and slightly downwards to avoid it getting waterlogged.

7. Try and provide flowers for bees all year round. Whilst most bees are active from March to September, some do emerge from hibernation in mild winter. Do, then, include winter flowering plants such as winter honeysuckle or clematis in your planting scheme and early spring bulbs.


3 Websites To Check Out For More British Bee Advice And Information On Their Decline



The British Beekeeping Association



Via this charity, you can learn more about how to keep bees, offer land for beekeepers to use and discover almost everything you might ever need know.


Friends of The Earth



The ever-brilliant Friends of The Earth offers this very easily digestible series of facts about why we all need to care about the bees.


British Bee Coalition



Formed in 2012, the British Bee Coalition was created to ‘bring attention to the plight of bees and other pollinators and to inspire and engage policymakers, industry and the public to protect these invaluable, irreplaceable animals.

15 Bee-Friendly Plants To Buy For Your Garden


Add any of these flower species to your garden’s planting plan for a bee-friendly buffet all year round:

1. Crocus
2. Forget-me-not
3. Rosemary
4. Foxglove



5. Hardy geranium
6. Hollyhock
7. Thyme
8. Buddleia



9. Cornflower
10. Dahlia (single-flowered)
11. Globe thistle
12. Lavender



13. Scabious
14. Sedum
15. Verbena

7 Online Garden Centres To Order Your Bee Friendly Plants



Crocus



One of the biggest online garden centres, with more than 4000 plant varieties to choose from, its easy-to-navigate categories include everything from veg to trees, climbers, grasses and bulbs. Visit here.

The Growers



A great destination for larger gardens, The Growers sells a wide range of bedding plants in bulk (minimum eight plants). Top marks for recyclable packaging, too. Visit here.

Bulbs



Specialising in bulbs by mail-order, Bulbs has been growing daffodils for over 100 years, which it sells alongside a wider range of spring and summer flowering bulbs. Visit here.

RHS



All RHS plants come with a five-year guarantee, plus there is plenty of good quality and expert knowledge and tips on its in-depth site. Visit here.

Jackson’s Nurseries



Buy direct from the grower through family-run nursery, Jackson’s in Stoke-on-Trent , which has 50 years’ experience. There is a great range of plants, trees and tools, too. Visit here.

Hayloft



If you’re looking for something different, Hayloft has 3,500 perennials to choose from that go beyond the usual garden centre stock. With handy guides on everything from growing to treating pests. Visit here.

The Alpine And Grass Nursery



Another family-run nursery, this time in Lincolnshire, The Alpine And Grass Nursery
has particular expertise in growing and selling alpines and grasses. Visit here.

By Lydia Mansi
May 2022

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.

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