[Music] There's simply no better sound than agarden alive with the industrious buzz of bees.
Us gardeners owe a lot to these hard-working pollinators.
Without them we simply wouldn't be ableto grow many of the fruits and vegetables that we take for granted.
In this video we look at a few simplebut highly effective ways of attracting these essential insects.
In many parts of the world, bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, are in decline.
The reasons are complex, but includemodern agricultural techniques, the spread of towns and cities, and theloss of natural habitat such as wildflower meadows.
No wonder bees are having a hard time! Bees provide a vital service by pollinating the plants that produce much the food that we eat.
They also pollinate the wildflowers thatfeed the insects that fuel the food chain By helping bees, we're helping wildlife – and ourselves.
Combined, our gardens make up a vast area of green space.
In towns and cities,they provide corridors of plant life for urban wildlife.
By creating bee-friendlyspaces within our gardens, we can help to support vulnerablepopulations while enjoying better harvests.
Bee-friendly flowers draw in pollinators, putting your garden firmly on their map.
Plan for a succession of flowers, so as one finishes another starts off.
By providing a constant supply of pollen and nectar for bees to feed on you'll keep bees on site year round.
There are no hard and fast rules about what to plant, but opt for flowers rich in pollen and nectar.
This usually means choosing single flowers over double flowers.
A wide range of flowers, including manytrees and shrubs, will serve as a bigger banquet for your bees.
Plants that bloom early in the year offer food for bees emerging from hibernation.
Suitable plants include willows, hawthorn, the blossom of fruit trees such asapples, cherries and plums, and plants such as crocus and aubretia.
Pre-show accident summer bloomers Excellent summer bloomers include clover, calendula, borage, and the appropriately named poached-egg plant.
Towards the end of the year make surethere are late-season flowers available such as aster, echinacea, and common ivy.
These are just some of the many bee-friendly flowers available.
Most bee-friendly flowers prefer a sunny,sheltered location.
Set plants in blocks or swathes tomaximize their useful impact for bees.
Our Garden Planner includes a selection of flowers proven to attract beneficial insects to your plot.
Simply click on 'Flowers' or 'Herbs' in the selection bar drop-down filter to list some popular options.
Clicking on the Information buttonreveals the plant's description, including its suitability for attractingpollinators.
Include flowers within your fruit andvegetable plot either to the margins, at the ends ofbeds, or among crops as companion plants.
Remember that flowering vegetables such as beans will also attract bees.
Use the Garden Planner to select and dropflowers into place on your plan, or hold down the mouse to drag out arow, making them an integral part of your cropping plan.
Allowing some corners of your garden to go a little wild will provide valuable habitat for bees.
For example, in winter leave grass togrow longer and the hollow stems of perennials uncutto offer additional shelter.
Many wild plants such as dandelions andthistles are a rich source of nectar and pollen, while the likes of nettles and brambles provide food for the larvae of pollinating butterflies.
Cutting lawns less frequently alsoenables low-growing lawn flowers such as clover and daisies to flower for longer, which means more foraging opportunities for bees.
Apply this hands-off approach to your entire lawn or specific areas.
Wild bees nest in arange of locations, including small holes left by otheranimals, in sheltered nooks and crannies such as within a compost heap, or among thick tufts of grass.
Stay vigilant, and avoid disturbing nests or hibernation sites.
Put up your own bee hotels to provide traditional habitat for many types of solitary and bumble bee.
You can make your own by gathering bundles of hollow stems, canes and twigs and packing them into a watertight outercasing, Or drill different sized holes into a block of untreated wood between 2mm and 10mm,or one-tenth to half an inch across.
Position bee hotels in shelteredlocations away from the worst of the winter weather.
Gardeners in tune with nature really shouldn't have to use chemical pesticides or weedkillers.
These unnatural controls both directlyand indirectly impact beneficial wildlife, disrupting the food chain, depleting populations of pollinators and pest predators as well as pests, and thereby locking thegardener into a dependency on further chemicals.
Instead, opt for natural pest controlsincluding netting, fleece or mesh barriers, and companionplants, and opt for natural weed controls such as mulches and regular hoeing.
Gardeners love bees.
They're our hard-working allies, and withoutthem we'd face very disappointing harvests.
How do you attract bees to your garden? Tell us by dropping us a comment below, and if you found this video useful be sure to subscribe to enjoy lots more gardening advice to help you through thegrowing season.