When we think of the benefits bees bring, honey is often top of the list. Surprisingly, honey is only produced by a handful of bee species, and is much less valuable than the pollination that bees provide. Having used these bee benefits for years, we must now help the bees in return. One way to help save the bees is to create a bee-friendly garden. We've gathered up some simple changes from The Bee Book that you can make to your garden to help these marvellous little creatures thrive. The ideas shown below add up to the perfect wildlife garden, so pick the ideas that work best for your space, and create a bee-friendly garden no matter your resources.
Create a miniature woodland on the edge of your garden by planting small, bee-friendly trees, underplanted with shade-tolerant perennials and biennials. If you can spare a patch of your larger garden, this miniature woodland will help bees to thrive.
If you grow your own crops, take advantage of bees hard-working nature and let them do some of the work. A wildlife-rich environment is a natural pest control for crops, and insect pollination will help to improve your crop yield, giving you the best of both.
A bee hotel is a wonderful way to give solitary bees a ready-made nest in your garden through imitating their natural habitat, and a neat and easy outdoor project that will last for a few years. You can make your own bee hotel using our step-by-step guide.
If you need an excuse to put down the lawnmower, why not help the bees and grow an edge of your lawn into a miniature wildlife haven? Long grass offers shelter and nesting habitats for insects, including bumblebees. Nectar-rich wildflowers such as dandelions and clovers will have an opportunity to bloom. Simply cut with a strimmer or shears twice a year - easy!
Grab a bag of pollinator seed mix, and you could be sowing up to 40 species of bee-friendly flowers. Bees will love the mix of flowers - simply dig over the soil in March, remove any weeds, and sow the seed mix in mid April. Pull up any dead stems, shake out the seeds, and dig over after the first frost.
Being a bee is thirsty work, and your mini garden visitors will need some drinking water. A pond is ideal, and the single most effective way to attract wildlife into your garden. Keep it stocked with aquatic plants so that the bees can drink from floating vegetation.
For a bee-friendly solution requiring minimal effort, a mini meadow is the perfect choice. Choose a wildflower meadow or prairie seed mix containing grasses, and sow into weed-free bare soil. This mini meadow only needs cutting once a year, in late summer. What could be easier?
Plant a range of native flowering shrubs to creaste a dense, intruder-proof hedge for bees. Bugs will thrive in this protective planting, and birds will also visit your garden for the tasty fruit later in the year.
If you have any leftovers from the projects above, put them to use by creating a bee bank. Spoil from a pond and turf from a wildflower meadow can be stacked up, left to settle, and sown with wildflowers, ready to entice bees into your garden.
The Bee Book is a beautiful celebration of and introduction to the world of bees, the ways in which we benefit from them, and how we can help them to thrive. With projects for attracting bees to your garden and uses for honey including home beauty remedies, The Bee Book is the ultimate guide to the world of these miniature marvels.