The decline of the bee population is putting us at risk. Without these little creatures, our gardens – our food supply – would not grow. We all need to do our part in helping bees thrive. The best thing you can do at home is to ensure that your garden is bee-friendly so you can help the bees without further damaging their population. Here are some tips to help you create a bee-friendly garden.
Create a Bee-Friendly Garden
Here are a few ways you can help the bees by creating a lovely haven for them to enjoy all year round.
Be mindful of the plants you are adding to your garden. Many large home improvement store plants are often sprayed with a pesticide that is harmful to bees, so it might be a good idea to check with these stores before purchasing and head to a local nursery instead. You could also purchase organic seeds and grow your own, growing without the use of harmful sprays. If you have to spray, use ones that have low toxicity for bees and don’t spray the flowers.
Plant Flowers Bees Love
Make a point to grow flowers that bees love. When building your garden you can help bees by planning the addition of bee-friendly flowers. Heirloom varieties and perennials are a great choice as the nectar and pollen hasn’t been affected by hybridisation. Bees love bright flowers that are easy to see from a distance to help them find food as they travel over great distances. Try and plant a mixture of shapes, colours and sizes for as different breeds of bees have different likes. Great options include sage, coneflower, and marigold.
Herbs are also great for bees. They can be grown in pots and used in your cooking while feeding the bees. Herbs like basil, chamomile, coriander, dill, lavender, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage and thyme are a great addition to any home garden.
Flower all year Round
Flowers that have a long flowering periods are great plants to have in your garden. When planning your flower beds choose flowers that will bloom at different points throughout the seasons allowing bees to have food in your garden from throughout the year. This can be a blessing to bees when other sources of food are limited.
Leave the dandelions in your yard. While people rush to get rid of dandelions but these flowers are bees first food of the season as they begin to wake up and for the year. While you can plant early flowers, drought-tolerant dandelions will still bloom long before your bulbs do each year.
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A Home for the Bees
Make a bee house for your garden. Most bees are not the bees you see in hives making honey. These bees are just as important to your garden and our food supply as honey bees. Giving them a home, will invite them into your garden to help pollinate and help them survive less than perfect weather.
Here, we have very hot summers. Like us, bees need water to drink. Due to their size, they can drown easily, so to encourage bees into your garden, place stones in a bird bath for them to rest on while sipping the water.
Keep a Journal
As you walk through your garden, keep a note of the times you see bees and the plants that they are buzzing around. This will give you an idea of the when and where the bees are in your area throughout the year. It may be that you might need more plants that provide food for bees in different seasons, so may need to more plant perennial plants. This gardening journal is a lovely way to keep a record of your garden.
Build a Bee Habitat
To encourage bees to come around, provide a safe, warm home for them to rest in, especially when the weather is not the best. You can purchase bee hotels or your could make your own with reeds, bamboo, rocks, sticks, logs or straw. Place in an area that is protected from strong winds, has a little sunshine in the morning, but is in the shade in the heat of the afternoon.
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You can create a wonderful haven for bees that will also provide you with lots of lovely, edible plants all year round, by designing a well-planned garden.