Tips for Creating a Bee Friendly Garden

Top Tips for Creating a Bee Friendly Garden

The outdoor world is my happy place.

More specifically, the outdoor space surrounding Field Cottage is my happy place. And I pride myself in trying to make it a happy place for as many other people as possible too.

Obviously, I don’t mean people… because that would be weird…

I mean other species! Bees, butterflies, hedgehogs, songbirds – any of the little folk that may choose to make your garden their home. Or even just a layover for a lazy afternoon.

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Currently, at the top of my garden priorities is to add plants that may do the bee population a little good. I want to to be the proud owner of a bee friendly garden. You don’t need to do much reading to find out that our friend the bee is under threat. 7 of the UK’s 25 species of bee are in decline. With 2 species of bee already being declared extinct in the UK, it’s time to take notice! Especially since the main cause of the problem is us. Changes in agricultural practices has a lot to answer for – removing vast areas of wildflowers and in turn a life source for the humble bee. 🐝🌺🌷🐝🍄🌹

And it’s not just sad for the bees as they suffer a decline in numbers. It could have terrible consequences for many other species of animal, and indeed, humans too. The bees tip top pollinating skills play a key role in producing much of the food that we eat. Think juicy strawberries and vibrant local peas for example… This skill carries through to our population of wildflowers too – they need the bee to cross-pollinate, and many other insects/birds/animals benefit from wildflowers. Not to forget how beautiful they are dotted across our countryside!

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But what can I do to help?

Make sure you have a bee friendly garden!

  • Do a little research before selecting your plants. There are plenty of resources out there that identify the best flowers for both the bumblebee and honeybee. The RHS website has some superb lists of plants for a bee friendly garden. They handily divide the list into garden plants and wildflowers – making it easier to identify plants the fit in with your gardens ‘look’.
  • Bees need somewhere to live. Honeybees generally have homes provided by their beekeepers but other bees live differently. Bee houses can be built or bought and placed in a sunny spot. Haphazard piles of logs provide the perfect habitat for some species of bumblebee, while others prefer a grassy bank. Pinpoint a few small areas of the garden that you don’t mind handing over to the bees. 🐝
  • Shallow water is something that we often forget to provide for our smaller garden friends. If you are lucky enough to have a water feature or pond, try to place rocks or similar in the water providing a resting spot for thirsty souls with teeny legs. If not, a saucer full of pebbles then a millimeter or two of water on a sunny windowsill is just as effective!
  • Reduce – or preferably stop – using pesticides altogether.  Garden chemicals containing the neonicotinoids thiacloprid and acetamiprid are available at most garden centres and DIY stores, despite the European Commission recommending a restriction of their use. Read the label.
  • You don’t need acres of land to do your bit for the bees. Have a balcony? Stick out a few plant pots. Have some space on your decking or by your front door? Do the same! Something like Buddleja is absolutely perfect as it’s great for bees and butterflies AND it’s beautiful 🌸

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I am lucky enough to have a well-established cottage garden – however, it is a little on the wild side… This year I have been trying my best to tame it a little by reducing the ‘weeds’ and planting bee friendly garden varieties in a slightly ( but not overly ) controlled manner. I am looking forward to sharing it with you next year when it has settled in 🌷🌹🌻

Further Reading & Resources

Bumblebee Conservation TrustThe Soil Association / Give Bees a Chance / Bug Life

Do you have a little outdoors space? Any tops for making it your own & being super wildlife friendly to boot?