Making a Safe and Inviting Bee Garden

Published on May 15th 2018
The Great British bee counts starts on the 17th May 2018 so this is a good time to think about whether your garden is bee friendly.
There are around 270 different bee species recorded in the UK.
They are placed into different categories including the following bumblebees, honeybees, solitary bees and then bee look alikes.
Bees are pretty easy to please, they need three things food, shelter and water.
Each type of UK bees have a different time of year when they are active and this means that your garden needs to provide what they are looking for. A few simple additions to the garden will really help.

Trees and Shrubs that bees love

Willow Salix early spring flowering provides pollen and nectar for the Queen bee and helps support the Clarkes mining bee and the Chocolate mining bee.
Hawthorn Crataegus as a tree or a hedge is an excellent early summer flowering plant that not only is good for bees but also for other wildlife but in the bee world Solitary bees the Tawny mining bee and as the name suggests the Hawthorn mining bee.
Lavender has a long flowering season and can grow in dry areas bumblebees and the leaf cutter bees just love this and Lavender is a bit hit for gardeners too.
Abelia is great because it flowers twice a year spring and summer and is nicknamed the bee bush both honeybees and bumblebees love this plant.
Crab or eating apples Malus Spring flowering the Red Mason bee is responsible for pollinating most of the fruits we eat.
Honeysuckle Lonicera a great climber that flowers throughout the summer great for bees and butterflies and because of the long sweetly scented flowers it is a great source of nectar for the long-tongued bees such as the Garden Bumblebee and Carter bumblebee.
Mahonia a wonderful winter flowering shrub with a valuable source of nectar for overwintering Honey and Bumblebees.
Mature Ivy flowers Hedera are really important for providing a source of late nectar for a whole range of bees from Honeybees, Queen bee bumblebees to fatten up before winter and favourite for Solitary bees
It's not all about trees and shrubs many other plants herbaceous perennials such as Sedum are excellent for Autumn flowers and if you leave the flower heads on when they have finished blooming the native ladybird will overwinter in the hollow stems. Here's a list of more bee friendly plants.
Remember bees also enjoy herbs, vegetables soft fruit and top fruit. If you have space try and let some herbs and vegetables run to flower.

That's the plants, now add water and Shelter

A small shallow bowl of water with marbles in to stop bees from drowning with give year-round hydration, and you can give shelter by making a bee friendly home.
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