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How to attract bees into your garden

BY READERS DIGEST

1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

How to attract bees into your garden
One-third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees, without them we're doomed. It is due to this vital pollinating activity that bees can help make your garden gorgeous with wonderful blooms—and by attracting them you'll be doing your bit for the planet too!

Bee-friendly flowers

bees flying
Bees love wildflowers, so it's important to think about the plants that are native to your area in order to keep the bees interested. Go to your garden centre and ask for a mixed packet of wildflower seeds. 
If you want to be more specific, British bees love the following plants:
  • Betony Birds Foot
  • Trefoil Bush Vetch
  • Clustered Bellflower
  • Cowslip
  • Devil’s Bit Scabious
  • Foxglove Harebell
  • Meadow Clary
  • Marjoram
  • Rock Rose
  • Selfheal Teasel
As a general rule the more wildflowers you plant the more bees you will attract. Consider planting a diverse range of plants and flowers as this will attract diverse species.

Planting tricks

  • Foxglove
  • Poppies
  • Hyacinth
  • Marigolds
  • Roses
  • Geraniums
  • Bright colours work best. Plant yellows, whites, blues and purples. Having a number of flowers in these colours will be very attractive to the bees.

Bee habitats

Bee habitat
Installing a little bee shelter in the garden is becoming more and more popular among gardeners. 
Paint a small wooden box brightly (white, yellow, blue, purple) using organic paint (so the bees don't get sick). Then fill with nesting tubes. Hang in a sheltered area (so it won't get rained on too much). You can pick up a readymade bee habitat from £22.99 in the Reader's Digest shop.

Finishing touches

Let things get wild! Bees thrive in wild habitats so allow an area in your garden to get a little unkempt.
  • Leave part of the lawn unmowed.
  • Brush fallen leaves into piles.
  • Leave patches of dirt exposed so things get a little muddy—some bees live underground and this makes a perfect home for them.
  • Build a bee bath by taking a shallow dish or tray and line it with flat rocks. Place the bath near the flowers your bees love the best. Be sure to keep the water shallow as they may drown.
  • Stop using pesticides and switch to these greener ideas.
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