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How to help bees in your urban garden

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Fri 12 Apr 2019

How to help bees in your urban garden

With documentaries narrated by David Attenborough and viral videos of plastic floating in distant oceans, there is a raised awareness of everyone doing their bit when it comes to looking after the planet.  Something you may not be aware of yet is that our pollinators are vital for growing food and are in decline.  You might think it's hard with a small or non-existent outdoor space to be able to do anything, but there are quite a few small things you can do to help stop the decline of our 'busy buzzy' friends!

Go potty for pots

If you don’t have any grass or traditional borders but you do have an outside space, no matter how small, then planting up a few pots with bright flowers not only provides bees with food, it provides you with a treat for your eyes!

Some good examples of bee favourites which can easily be grown in pots include:

  • Lavender
  • Crocuses
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  • Dahlias
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  • Geraniums
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  • Marigolds
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  • Roses
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  • Snowdrops
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  • Poppies
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  • Hyacinths
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  • Asters



Channel your outdoor Laurence Llewellyn Bowen

When planting, it’s also a good idea to consider how bees see colour. They’re especially attracted to flowers which are yellow and blue but cannot see red and are warned off by black so try and avoid petals with either of these two colours.

Plan, plan, plan

If you’re just starting out with planting, start small and look up good plants for the time of year to avoid getting oversaturated with information (there’s lots of it out there!), but if you’re wanting to look a bit further ahead, then strategically planting seasonal flowers so that bees have access to food in your garden all year round could be a good strategy.

Strawberries are their jam

It’s not just Wimbledon fans who love strawberries, bees love the flowers too! And there are lots of small varieties out there which can be grown easily in single pots, so if you’re more into gardening that provides you with food – plant some strawberries and you won’t be disappointed. They also really like lots of other fruit and vegetable plants if you’ve got a bigger space to work with.

No outdoor space?

Consider fitting window boxes, and consider the above tips with smaller plants which will be happy in the window box environment. And if you are unable to install window boxes, all is not lost – you can still bee a superhero.

If you see a bee on the pavement struggling, it means its batteries have run out! When areas are densely populated by humans, it often means there is a lack of food sources for bees which means they have to fly further distances between pollen refuels. All is not lost though! The RSPB suggests that you can revive exhausted bees by mixing two tablespoons of granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water and putting it on a spoon or plate. Put the bee on the plate or spoon, and it will hopefully have a little drink – giving it enough energy to reach its destination!