THERE’S a real buzz about wildlife gardening this summer as Surrey Wildlife Trust joins forces with The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to encourage gardeners across the county to create havens for wild bees.
The Bee Creative in the Garden! campaign asked gardeners how they would most like to help bees. Planting foxgloves and letting lawns grow long were the stand-out favourites - but there are plenty of other ways to help make your patch more bee-friendly.
“We know that the British bee population has fallen by about a third in the last 10 years,” said Dawn Fielding, the trust’s wildlife gardening officer.
“Bees really need our help and we hope all gardeners will take action for wild bees this summer. If we all did a little bit, together we could make a big difference.”
Here are the trust’s top tips on how to help bees in your garden this summer:
• Build a ‘bee hotel’ using hollow canes or a log with holes drilled into it. Bees will soon move in and lay eggs, before capping the holes off with mud, leaves or resin.
• Put out shallow dishes of water, filled with pebbles, to provide easy drinking places for thirsty bees - chiefly honey bees.
• Plant bee friendly flowers this August, such as single flowered dahlias, cosmos, globe thistle, heather, lavender and ivy.
Bee Creative In the Garden! is supported by horticultural expert Monty Don, who believes gardeners can play an active role in nurturing and conserving the wild bee population.
“Gardens are always a rich source of food for wild bees and with a little care can be made even better for them without any trouble or loss of pleasure to the gardener. You do not need rare or tricky plants. In fact the opposite is true,” he said.
“Any flower that is open and simple, such as members of the daisy family, or any that are set like a lollipop on a stick, such as scabious, and all members of the thistle family, are ideal for attracting honey bees, which have rather short tongues so need easy access.
“Bumblebees have longer tongues so are better adapted for plants that have more of a funnel shape, such as foxgloves.”
For more tips on how to help bees and other wildlife visit www.wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk.