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"To me the sound of summer is the buzz of bees as they happily collect pollen from the plants. I have a real interest in pollinators and make sure that the plant centre stocks plants that encourage bees, butterflies and other insects. Pollinators are important Bees pollinate 3/4 of the world's most important crops. Sadly bee numbers have been dramatically dropping because of the increased use of pesticides, a lack of natural habitat and disease. Bee-friendly gardening is something to consider as you plan your garden each season - from growing the right plants, to avoiding chemicals in the garden. Create a buzz in your garden… Encourage bees to your garden by simply planting a few pollinator friendly plants. I write this as we head into summer and there is an abundance of flowering plants making it easy to be bee-friendly, but when planning consider also having some early and later flowering plants such as snowdrops, winter aconites, asters and mahonia – they not only cheer up your winter garden, but they are a great source of nectar for winter-active and early bees too.. What does a bee-friendly garden look like? - To make a real difference aim for at least two kinds of bee-friendly plant for each flowering period. - Use a variety of flowers. Different shapes, colours and scents will appeal to the likes of different insects and bee species. - Pick flowers that are rich in pollen. Bees don't see colour as humans do - they see mixes of blue and green - but they also see ultraviolet light that many flowers have to attract them to the pollen which we can't see. In general they will use scent rather than sight. - Consider the flower shape. Open bowl shapes and daisy shaped flowers such as geranium (cranesbill), aster, dahlias and lipped plants that give a landing stage such as salvias (sage) are very good. - Don’t forget that most herbs are attractive to butterflies and bees and useful for your culinary needs too! They particularly like lavender, rosemary, thyme and chive flowers! - Other good plants to encourage pollinators to the garden include monarda, erysimum (perennial wallflower), scabious and sedums. Want to get your garden buzzing? Pop along to the Plant Centre to pick up these plants and chat to me more about more ideas for your pollinator friendly garden!" Helen
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