This month sees the return of ‘World Bee Day’ (Thursday 20th May), celebrating the importance of bees and the significance of the iconic black and yellow striped pollinator.
Following the recent launch of their #sustainabledobbies campaign, the experts at Dobbies Garden Centres have shared their top tips to help make your garden a bee-friendly haven.
Not your average garden centre, Dobbies is committed to educating about the importance of both wildlife and environmentally friendly practices, products, and sustainable solutions. To support World Bee Day, Horticultural Director at Dobbies Marcus Eyles has shared easy ways to support pollinators in your garden.
Marcus said: “Our gardens are natural playgrounds for bees but with some bee species in decline, we need to do everything we can to ensure their survival and, with a little effort, it’s easy to give them a helping hand. Bees play a vital role in the natural world and it’s everyone’s job to do all we can to protect these precious pollinators. From the addition of some front garden flowers to letting grass grow a little longer, there’s something to be done in all gardens, no matter the size or style.”
Best blooms for bees…Nectar rich flowers for a garden buzz
- Lavender: Famed for being beautifully fragrant, the purple flowers of lavender not only add a lovely touch to the front of a border but are extremely rich in nectar for the bees.
- Clover: Don’t rush to trim your lawn if it’s full of clover. Growing in most terrains, these native garden flowers are great animal fodder and a magnet for honeybees. Let a patch of your lawn grow and watch the bees flock to your garden.
- Honeysuckle: A versatile climbing plant with a beautiful scent, honeysuckle is a great addition to the garden – and bees love it. It grows well scrambling up a trellis in a semi-shaded spot, with the sweet nectar attracting garden bumblebees.
- Foxglove: A cottage garden favourite, foxgloves are tall and elegant, with long-tongued bumblebees able to drink easily from the tubular shape of the flower. Full of rich nectar, the little tubes also add a pop of vibrant summer colour to your garden.
5 tips for garden pollen power
1. Plant a variety of flowers
Bumblebees have tongues of different lengths, designed to feed from different shaped petals. So a good variety of flowering plants is essential. Traditional cottage garden flowers such as Lupins, Hollyhocks, Lavender and Foxglove work well. Sunflowers are excellent too. Avoid flowers with double or multi-petalled blooms, which are difficult for bees to access. Marjoram, Mint, Fennel, Sage and Thyme are attractive herbs for bees. Trees, shrubs and grasses are also useful. Bees need food throughout the year, so think about plants such as heathers and winter-flowering trees that will provide good foraging in leaner times. Ask your local Dobbies’ expert for advice if you aren’t sure.
2. Cater for thirsty bees
Don’t forget drinking water. A pond, water feature or even a shallow dish filled with stones for bees to land on will provide a good source.
3. Give bees a home
Different species of bees nest in different habitats. Some solitary bees nest in the ground, but others will appreciate a simple bee house. Position it out of direct sunlight in a south-facing spot, if possible.
4. Give the mower a rest
Grasses and lawn weeds, such as dandelion, give bees shelter and feeding spots. So, you can let the grass grow longer with good conscience. You should then cut your lawn in late summer once all the meadow flowers have finished and set their seeds for the following years blooms.
5. Take care with chemicals
Limit the use of pesticides as far as you can. Insecticides used to control aphids, for example, also harm bees. Always follow label instructions and never spray open flowers. As part of our #sustaintabledobbies, there is additional focus on the safer range of pest control products, to reduce the impact on beneficial garden insects and wildlife. We do not stock weedkillers that contain glyphosate or slug killers that contain metaldehyde, and rodenticides have been delisted.
Bee inspired in your home
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