With bees declining in numbers over the last few decades, gardens have become ever more essential to provide the food, shelter and nesting places they need. 

These busy little workers provide an invaluable service by pollinating the plants we grow, and there are things every gardener can do to help them in return – whether they have sweeping lawns or a small patio.  

Here are our top tips to help you keep your outside space buzzing.  


The right plants: Growing a mixture of plants rich in nectar and pollen is perfect for bees, but make sure you choose plants that will provide a continuous flowering period for as much of the year as possible. Bee-friendly plants for spring include flowering cherry and crab apple trees, daffodils, sea thrift, alliums and grape hyacinth; for summer, choose lavender, scabious and foxgloves; in autumn, opt for single-flowered dahlias, Japanese anemones, sedums and asters; and in winter bees love snowdrops, ivy, crocuses, hellebores and mahonia.  

The colour purple: Bees can see purple more clearly than any other colour, and some of the best plants for bees are lavender, alliums, buddleja and catmint. 


Shape up: Single flowers are best for bees as they’re easily accessible. Too many petals mean bees can’t get to the central part of the flower where the nectar and pollen will be. Tubular flowers like foxgloves, penstemons, honeysuckle and snapdragons are an important source of food for long-tongued bees. 

Bee hotels: Providing bee hotels is a great way to boost bee diversity in your garden and are fascinating to watch. You can find plenty of guides to building a bee hotel online, or just pile sticks and leaves in an undisturbed corner.  


Short on space? Window boxes will also attract bees – try wildflowers or herbs in a sunny, south-facing window, or place a winter-flowering shrub in a pot by the front door.  

And relax: Try not to be too particular about your lawn – dandelions and lawn clover provide pollen and nectar for bees, so try to leave some areas of your garden undisturbed if possible.  Try scattering wildflower seeds in a quiet corner for a burst of colour that will be buzzing with bees in early summer.