Gardening for bees
Gardening for bees is easy. The main thing is to plant bee-friendly flowers and vegetables.
Bees are a dating service for many crops and plants. They introduce flowers to each other, by transferring pollen from one flower to another. In return, the flowers feed the bees with nectar and pollen.
Bees prefer open, single-head flowers to complex, double-headed varieties. They find lots of petals hard to negotiate to get their nectar and pollen.
- The same plants grown in clusters, not peppered round the garden.
- A steady supply of food, not bursts of plenty followed by famine.
- Suitable species that will appear every season.
Let us take you through the gardening year.
Snowdrops, aconites, blackthorn and mahonia provide much-needed food in late winter and early spring.
In late spring, summer and early autumn there is much more for bees to choose from. This includes hollyhocks, foxgloves and forget-me-nots. Herbs include borage, lavender and wild thyme.
A relaxed approach to your garden favours bees. They love clover, so let it flower when it appears in the lawn.
If you have room, think of leaving a sunny, sheltered corner of the garden to go wild, encouraging such bee-friendly species as dandelions and white dead nettles.
Finally, don't use pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. You wouldn't want traces of these in your honey. And bees don't like them in their food either.
Find out more
Download our free information booklet, 20 things you need to know about bees.
This is based on an article that first appeared in 'Earthmatters', Friends of the Earth's supporter magazine.
Become a member of Friends of the Earth and we'll send you 3 free issues of 'Earthmatters' each year.