How to design a bee-friendly garden

Key players in the diversity of our natural world, bees have proved time and time again how
important they are to the health of our ecosystems. Indeed, almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of
crops depend on animal pollination to help them multiply and thrive. And if these crops don’t thrive,
our sources of food dwindle massively.

Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest to preserve the humble bee. With populations in decline, it’s
never been more urgent to create plentiful habitats for bees, so their numbers grow again. And the
rise of the bumble bee could all start in your back garden.

What makes a flower bee-friendly?

As we head into late summer, you can still attract bees into your garden with an array of flowers that
they just can’t get enough of. ‘Surely all flowers are bee-friendly?’ some of you might ask, but that’s
actually not the case. In fact, the shape and size of a flower is important; long tubular plants are
wonderful as they offer them a protected cocoon in which to collect nectar.

Research has shown that bees also prefer blue and purple flowers; due to their ultraviolet vision,
these colours stand out more and never fail to attract bees in their multitudes.

Species that are particularly bee-friendly

When it comes to food, like us, bees can be a bit picky. Flowers that do particularly well are
sunflowers, lavender, bee balm and sweet pea varieties. They also like bellflowers and buttercups
which is great news to all gardeners out there, as these flower species are really easy to grow!

These particular flowers are abundant in wild fields and meadows, so if you want to become a bee
hotspot, simply allow an area in your garden to grow and become wonderfully wild. By not
interfering, you’ll find that all kinds of meadow flowers bloom which bees particularly like. What’s
more, wild areas attract all kinds of wildlife, and you’ll be helping out with local biodiversity.

Garden design

You might not think it particularly important seeing as bees can fly, but the architecture of your
garden is important if you want to attract lots of them. First of all, ensure that there’s a water supply
nearby by building a birdbath or something similar. If you have a pond already, you don’t need to do
anything more.

Second, if you want to attract different species of bee, build a little house in which they can nest. Fill
the house with a good mixture of plants and flowers to bring out all the species to your little bee house.