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There perhaps may be a misconception about the bee, potentially due to the well-documented aggressive nature of wasps, their close relation and lookalike. Of course, bees aren’t the favourite of organisms to those who are unfortunate enough to suffer an allergy to their stings, but purely from a gardening perspective, they are an incredible ally. They play a pivotal role in pollination, i.e. the transfer of pollen between flowering plants which enables fertilisation and reproduction. Therefore, the more bees you have buzzing around your garden, the higher production you will have, whether it be for your veg patch that Oakleigh Manor helped you start, or your beautiful array of perennials. Either way, bees are vital for your garden. Like that fact or not, it is exactly that: a fact. So with that in mind, welcome to the third issue of Oakleigh Manor’s ‘How to…’ Series, in which we will get you a few pointers in how to attract more bees to your garden.
Provide the right plants
This is the most obvious, but it will make the world of difference if you do your homework. Certain plants are more attractive to bees than others; for starters, planting natives in your garden will benefit bees more. In their never-ending quest for nectar, they will be attracted to plants that provide the most nectar and plants naturally native to the UK will provide more than non-natives. Wildflowers will also have them buzzing over! A diverse range of flowers will also give bees choice.
It is a very simple premise; much like a number of organisms, bees struggle to see certain colours. To be more specific, seeing the reddish colours is impossible for them. Therefore, planting roses won’t be the best move in this instance. Despite this, they are drawn to yellow, blue and purple like the proverbial moth to a flame! Not only will planting plants of these hues bring in more bees, but the vibrancy of these colours will not compromise the beauty of your external space.
This tip is more for the access of nectar; even though they look incredible, flowers with more than one row of petals prove problematic for bees. However, single blooms provide a much easier access, making pollination easier. Examples of single-petalled plants include geraniums, marigolds and poppies, so even though double blooms do look nice, that isn’t to say planting more single booms is going to harm any sort of aesthetics.
Being that it is vital for all known forms of life, giving bees access to water isn’t a bad way to attract them. You can do this by providing a ‘bee bath’. In the same mould as a bird bath but much more shallow, when placed near to flowers with rocks within it will enable bees to land and take a drink at the edge. Please do change the water regularly though and do not let it stagnate, as this could attract a number of common garden pests and diseases.
This is always a good thing to do, but specifically, stop using chemical treatments in your garden. Pesticides are harmful to bees; you can see a previous blog post from us here at Oakleigh Manor exploring the idea of bug killers being a potential contributor by clicking here. Try and focus on natural remedies for any pests you may have in your garden. However, we understand that sometimes this is impractical. So if you must use pesticides, please spray during the evening when bees and other pollinators aren’t at their most active.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed the third issue of this series; it is an absolute pleasure to bring it to you.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter</a> / <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:GNU_Free_Documentation_License”>GNU Free Documentation License</a>
This article was written by Lewis