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Entries in Bees (2)


How To Attract More Wildlife Into Your Garden

Hedgehog snuffling leavesHedgehog snuffling leaves

You are probably already aware that wildlife is on the decline in the UK and everywhere really. So if you are a conscientious gardener, why not make a little effort to attract a little more of it into your garden?
Having a garden full of life is a pleasure anyway, and you also get the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your bit for mother-nature.
Making your garden more nature friendly isn’t difficult. As soon as you get the ball rolling by attracting a few insects, the birds and small mammals will soon follow. Ok, so are you ready to get started?

Walls And Rocky Gaps

Personally I just love to see old man-made stuff crumbling and being reclaimed by nature. As a nature gardener you should make it your mission to look out for old rocks and resist the temptation to remove crumbling walls.

These are all the sorts of things which can provide nooks and crannies in which insects can build their home. In particular you may find they provide shelter for bees, which in turn pollinate your plants.

Leaf Piles And Old Logs

Having a nicely kept lawn is nice enough, but try to also leave some space for nature to do its thing. Leave out a pile of leaves or an old log or two and see what happens.

Natural waste is full of things that can be recycled and giving nature the opportunity to do what it does best will naturally attract bugs and amphibians, which will once again attract birds.

Oh and those bugs will also attract hedgehogs which make a cute addition to any garden!

Getting The Right Plants

Plants are pretty, which is reason enough to have plenty of them, but the type of plant that you get has an impact on what wildlife you can expect to see.

Start with some nice and tall wild flowers which are a favourite of bees and other insects. Some long grass will also pull in some butterflies.

Beautiful ButterflyBeautiful Butterfly 
And if you can use hedges for your garden perimeter you will provide valuable habitat for birds, who will enjoy eating those insects that are buzzing around your flowers.

Wild Flowers

As I mentioned above, wild flowers are great for bees and insects (and even dragon flies) so if you want plenty of bio-diversity then you want lots of them.

Some of the best types of flower to grow in order to attract bumble bees include:

•    Cowslip
•    Foxglove
•    Harebell
•    Marjoram

And if you want lots of pretty butterflies, try growing a few of these:

•    Yarrow
•    Hawkbit
•    Valerian

Build A Pond

Ponds are fantastic if you want to provide a habit for frogs and toads, they also attract different types of insects which will be eaten by the frogs and also attract more birds.

The great thing about ponds is that you will see different varieties of animals coming and going as the seasons change.

Frog hiding in a garden pond 
More About Birds

If you follow all of the tips above you can guarantee that you will have plenty of birds coming and going. Those bushes will give them shelter and they will have hours of fun controlling your insects for you.

If you want to encourage birds, give them a food source by keeping your plants healthy and your pond full of life. Introducing a fountain or a pond pump can be a good way to keep things healthy.

You can also leave out a few manmade snacks in the form of a bird feeder. Nuts and seeds are great during the winter months when the insects are less plentiful.


Don’t let your garden be a danger for birds; if you have a cat, give it a collar with a bell so that the birds have a fair warning.

About The Author

This post was written by Ricky from Swallow Aquatics who sell pond supplies. Ricky loves his garden and his garden pond. He likes to spend time outdoors and loves any type of wildlife.


Plight of the Bumble Bee

EchiumBees are of such fundamental importance to our food production! But recently colony numbers have declined (up to 85% ) in Europe and North America. These major pollenators of crops such as wheat, barley, fruit and animal feed are in some danger.

Recently in the news has been the published results of research by Stirling University to find why this is happening to our bee populations. Led by Professor Dave Goulson, this research has identified an insecticide with active ingredient ‘Neonicotinoid’ as a strong contender.

A derivative of nicotine, this agent has been found to affect the nervous system of bees, even at low exposure levels. Neonicotinoid has been increasingly used for crop protection since the 1990s. But many companies that make this agent were quick to defend its continued manufacture and use. When representatives were up before the Environmental Audit Committee they would rather blame viral and habitat loss as the main cause of colony loss. The government also confirmed that Neonocotinoid still complies with “legal restrictions”. (DEFRA)

Could this be yet another example of the league of commerce lording it over common sense? Can we afford to be complacent of this potentially serious issue?

As gardeners, however, we can and do take positive action.  Bee populations are now healthiest in suburbia. There are more flowers and less pesticides in our towns and cities. Most of us are aware of bee friendly plants.

The Echium is another one you might like to try! This bi/triennial plant, a native of the Canary Islands, can be grown from seed. I got mine from Plant World Seeds. Echium pininana is the one shown (I grew this one in Warminster). From that one plant I have self set seedlings popping up everywhere.
Echiums are in the Borage family that is why bees love them so much. As long as they are kept dry, they are frost tolerant. A truly amazing plant!

As part of a planting plan some have been planted in a Batheaston garden. We'll keep you informed of their progress!