Eight Ways to Give Bees a Helping Hand in Your Urban GardenColin Campbell-Preston
With 30% of our diet directly resulting from bee pollination of fruit and vegetable plants – these flying insects are amongst the most welcome visitors to our gardens. However it can be difficult to lure bees to an inner-city or urban garden and the entomophilous plants within due to the often-unwelcoming surroundings. Here, we offer seven tips to help you give bees a little helping hand in your garden and encourage them to keep coming back to visit and pollinate your plants.
The bees in your local area will have most likely grown up with native plants. Having developed a taste for these plants – they will be more inclined to visit your garden if you plant flowers which are native to your area. Do a little research or ask the Capital Gardens Plant People if you are unsure of the flowers which are native to your area and appeal to the palates of the local bees. Once attracted, the bees may be inclined to try the more exotic flowers you have planted to complement the local plants.
Diversify Your Flowers
Bees will be more inclined to visit your garden if you can offer them a buffet of different flowers. The little guys appreciate a wide range of shapes and textures. This may seem difficult if your urban or balcony garden does not have a lot of space to plant a wide variety of flowers – so a Verti Plant wall planter can help you maximise the space available.
Flowers which have a single row of petals have more pollen than flowers with more than one row – proving incredibly attractive to bees. With more pollen to enjoy and easier access to the pollen, the bees can enjoy a substantial feast. Here is a short list of single petal flowers – perfect for hungry little bees:
Colour Code the Garden
Specific flower colouration is partially due to bees and their vision. Evolved to appeal to bees, flowers which are yellow and blue are particularly attractive to the winged insects. Bees cannot see red and are warned off by black – so flowers with petals of such colours will not attract the bees. Here is a little guide to how bees interpret colours.
Keep the Feast Going
Planning seasonal flowers can help ensure the bees have food all year round. Concentrating your efforts on planting flowers which all bloom simultaneously will provide bees with an abundance of pollen for a few short months, and then scant food and nourishment for the rest of the year. Ensure the garden has plenty of sustinence for your bee friends throughout the year.
Plant Flowering Fruit and Vegetable Plants
The vibrant fragrances of fruits and vegetables can be incredibly attractive to bees. This mutually-beneficial relationship provides plenty of pollen for bees, who in turn can help the plants reproduce. Here are just a few fruits and vegetables loved by bees:
- Cherry Trees
Install a Bee House
There are more than 200 species of wild bees in the UK which are recognised as solitary bees – living outside of hives and bee societies. Installing a bee house in the back garden can attract these nomadic bees to make your back garden their home. Here is a simple guide to help you build a bee house for your urban garden.
If you don’t experience instant success with these tips, don’t fear – the author of From A to Bee, James Dearsley, explains: “When you start beekeeping you will find the amount of information overwhelming. In those first few years, just remember to relax and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just learn from them, the bees will be okay, they have been around far longer than we have…”
Support the London In Bloom Meadows Award
London In Bloom Meadows Award is a scheme which is run to encourage investment in London’s natural places and habitats. We at Capital Gardens have sponsored this scheme this year. So if you know of any land near you which you and your neighbours can help turn into or improve as a natural meadow then please ‘go for it’.
For a great range of seeds, bulbs and back garden fixtures to create a bee-friendly garden, visit the Capital Gardens store or call our dedicated team now on 0208 874 2037