Bee Kind

Gardening tips

Here we have pulled together some gardening tips that will help you to make bee friendly choices.

Gardens and outdoor spaces are an important part of many of our lives, as they offer an escape from reality into a world full of colour and variety.

But did you know that the plants you choose can make a real difference to a bee’s life and therefore make a difference to the lives of the human population too? This is because bees are vital to stable, healthy food supplies in our country and across the world. 

Knowing what plants to include in your garden which will help bees and other pollinating insects, such as butterflies and hoverflies, will not only help plants to grow, but you will be doing your bit to ensure that they don’t just survive, but thrive.

Foxgloves, clovers and vetches rely on bees. Without bees we wouldn’t see these flowers in our countryside. Others such as poppies, cornflowers and bluebells depend on healthy pollinator populations so why not add some to your garden? In the UK we need a variety of wildflowers to provide pollinators with plenty of sources of food.

One good way to ensure you’re providing a great feeding spot for bees is to set up a nectar café.

How to set up a nectar café

  • Choose a sheltered sunny spot.
  • Place each plant in groups (to help make colours and scents easier for bees to spot).
  • Prolong the flowering season – select plants so that you have a show of flowers from early spring to late autumn.
  • Choose flowers with a simple (often flat) structure, like old cottage varieties, as they are the easiest for insects to feed from.
  • Remember to provide a night-time feast for moths. Plant some flowers that release scents in the evening to attract moths and bats.
  • Add herbs to the mix as they are highly attractive to insects, or design a dedicated herb garden.

Here are ten night time nectar providing plants

  1. Argentinian Vervain
  2. Buddleia
  3. Common Jasmine
  4. Evening Primrose
  5. Globe Artichoke
  6. Hebe
  7. Honeysuckle
  8. Miss Willmott's Ghost
  9. Sweet Rocket
  10. Tobacco Plant.

Here are ten daytime nectar providing plants

  1. Cornflower
  2. Cowslip
  3. Ox-eye daisy
  4. Ragged robin
  5. Wild poppy
  6. Teasel
  7. French marigold
  8. English bluebell
  9. Lavender
  10. Cornfield mixture.

How to grow seeds and fruit

If you’re looking for tips on how to sow wildflower seeds, watch Grow Wild Uk's video on YouTube (opens in new window).

Do you have little ones in year 1 to year 6 who have shown an interest in food growing? Or just looking for new ways to teach your children about the importance of sustainable living? Trees for Cities have this fantastic website that provides curriculum guides, lesson plans and lots of other resources to support them on their learning journey. For example, learn about life cycles through harvesting crops and learn about measuring and estimating by sowing seeds in raised plant beds.

Full details can be found on the Trees for Cities website (opens in new window).

Find out how to sow seeds by watching Trees for Cities' video on YouTube (opens in new window).

Find out how to plant seedlings by watching Trees for Cities' seedlings video on YouTube (opens in new window).

Did you know that strawberries, raspberries and apples all need to be pollinated by insects in order to get a good crop? Find out how to grow them and get lots of other useful grow-along tips by following the Get Set, Grow videos on the Royal Horticultural Society website (opens in new window).