Attracting bees to your garden has a multitude of benefits. Bees pollinate flowers and this helps to improve the health and vitality of plants as well as to improve yield from the veggie patch and fruit trees. When bees thrive, we all thrive!
One of the simplest ways to attract bees to your garden or veggie patch is to plant flowers that bees love. These plants are rich in pollen and nectar and benefit your local bees. Ideally, you want to plan a range of plants that flower throughout the year, not just flowers that bloom in Spring.
Another thing is to go easy on the weeding. You read that correctly – you have permission to relax pulling the weeds out. These little flowers often do a brilliant job at nourishing our bees, especially throughout the winter when our gardens are mostly hibernating.
You could also try creating bee hotel. These are areas in the garden that are full of small, hollow sticks and nuts which attract solitary bee species who like to lay their eggs in hollow cavities. Don’t forget a water source!
The plants you have growing in your garden play a huge role in what insects you attract. You want to aim for a good colour range of flowers and those with a fragrance are more likely to attract bees than those without. Remember that chemicals and pesticides not only kill pests but also bees. For a bee friendly garden refrain from using any pesticides on your plants. Bees can see UV light, so flowers in blues, violets, yellows and greens are the most successful. Bees cannot distinguish shades of red so these flowers are less attractive to bees.
Bee Friendly Plants by Season
Summer: lavender, comfrey, foxgloves, cardoon, goldenrod, thyme
Autumn: sedums, dahlias
Winter: snowdrops, ivy, honeysuckle,
Spring: cheer, crab apples, hawthorn, daffodils, hyacinth, forget me nots.
Year round: bottlebrush, basil
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. Happy gardening!