Are you ready to indulge in a fun and rewarding activity while making your garden a haven for bees? Learn how to create a vibrant bee garden that benefits these essential pollinators. Discover the three key elements that bees need: food, water, and nesting places. By planting blooming flowers and providing bee-friendly accommodations like bee hotels, you can make your garden a safe and attractive space for bees.

Why Should You Have a Bee Garden?

Bees play a vital role in our society. Through pollination, honeybees, solitary bees, and bumblebees enable us to enjoy the beauty of flowers, plants, and fruits such as cherries, apples, raspberries, and mangoes. Even vegetables like zucchini, peppers, and avocados wouldn’t exist without the help of bees.

Having a bee garden plays a vital role in our ecosystem as it enables bees to ensure the pollination of flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables, such as cherries, apples, raspberries, and avocados. With over 75% of flowering crops depending on bee pollination, actively supporting bees becomes crucial for cultivating a thriving garden. Take action by exploring bee-friendly seed mixes, installing sedum roofs, and providing bee hotels to create a buzzing bee haven.

Thankfully, several organizations have made it easier for you to support bees. You can find bee-friendly seed mixes to sow in your garden or outdoor space. Another option is creating sedum roofs, which serve as paradises for bees. These ready-made solutions can be installed on your shed, garden house, or garage, offering additional benefits like water retention, air purification, lower ambient temperature, energy efficiency, and enhanced urban biodiversity. Various locations also offer shelter and nesting options like bee hotels.


Types of Bees

When it comes to bees, most people are familiar with honeybees. The UK boasts over 270 species of bees, each playing a crucial role in pollination and the health of ecosystems. Bees can be broadly categorized into three groups: honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees.


Honeybees are the most common type of bee in the UK and are known for their honey production. They live in large colonies and are primarily managed by beekeepers.

They live in colonies, with the queen laying eggs, worker bees maintaining the nest, producing honey, caring for the larvae, and foraging for food. Male bees, called drones, only appear in the summer and are responsible for mating. Once their purpose is fulfilled, the workers stop feeding the drones, leading to their demise. Honeybees sting only when they feel threatened, sacrificing their lives as their stinger detaches.

Solitary Bees

The UK is home to numerous species of solitary bees, which include mining bees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, and many others. These bees do not form colonies and live independently.

Solitary bees exhibit significant diversity, with each species having its unique characteristics. Solitary bees, such as mining bees, utilize the ground as their nesting site, while others use crevices in walls or hollow plant stems. Some notable examples include leafcutter bees, which use pieces of leaves to line their nests and separate individual cells, and mason bees, which create partitions using mud. There are also cuckoo bees, which do not build nests or collect pollen themselves but instead lay eggs in the nests of other bees. The presence of cuckoo bees indicates a healthy population of other bee species in the vicinity.

Solitary bees rarely, if ever, sting. Only female bees possess a stinger, which is too small to penetrate human skin. Since they do not have a colony to defend, they have no reason to sacrifice themselves by stinging.


Bumblebees, which are also wild bees, resemble honeybees but have a rounder, hairier appearance. Like honeybees, they form colonies with a queen, workers, and drones. However, bumblebee queens hibernate in underground burrows or leaf piles during winter. Interestingly, there are cuckoo bumblebees, similar to cuckoo bees, that behave in a parasitic manner by infiltrating and laying eggs in other bumblebee colonies.

Unlike honeybees, bumblebees do not die after stinging, and they will only sting if provoked.


Bees are an endangered species

In the UK, there are over 300 species of bees, more than half of which are on the red list, meaning they are threatened with extinction. To help prevent this, there are several things you can do:

  1. Fill your garden with nectar-rich plants.
  2. Avoid using pesticides.
  3. Let some of your weeds grow.
  4. Create a wildflower meadow instead of a neatly mowed lawn.
  5. Sponsor bee sanctuaries or support local beekeepers.
  6. Educate yourself, your children, and your community about the importance of bees.
  7. Consider becoming a beekeeper.

Purple Coneflower

Which flowers and plants should I put in my bee garden?

One significant and enjoyable way to support bees in your area is by planting the right flowers and plants in your garden. There are many different types of blooming plants you can choose to help bees, butterflies, and insects in nature. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): This native plant with rough leaves and bell-shaped flowers ranging from white to purple is attractive to larger insects like long-tongued bumblebees and bees. They drill a hole at the base of the flower to access the nectar. Comfrey prefers slightly moist soil.
  2. Bee Balm (Monarda): This eye-catching perennial plant blooms in summer. One of the most robust varieties is Monarda ‘Gardenview Scarlet.’ Its leaves have a velvety texture, and its strong fragrance attracts bees and other pollinating insects to your garden.
  3. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Like bee balm, lavender is highly fragrant. Its scent is familiar as it is often used in cosmetics and air fresheners. Bees and butterflies are particularly fond of lavender.
  4. Sage (Salvia officinalis): This purple-flowering plant can also be used as a culinary herb. It thrives in both garden beds and pots.
  5. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): This colorful perennial plant is a favorite among bees. It adds vibrancy to your garden and is one of my personal favorites.
  6. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea): This biennial plant prefers a sunny spot in the border and is loved by bees. It’s a charming addition to any garden.
  7. Sedum, such as Stonecrop (Sedum spectabile): You can plant sedum on both green roofs and in your garden. It also does well in pots.
  8. Aster varieties, especially the autumn aster, provide pollen late in the year when food sources are scarce.
  9. Allium: These early-blooming bulbous plants, particularly Allium Cepa and Senescens, offer abundant pollen. Choose a combination of pink and purple varieties for a stunning display in your garden.
  10. Cape Mallow (Anisodontea Capensis): A beautiful summer-flowering plant that thrives in pots, with delicate and charming blooms.

How do I make a bee hotel for my bee garden?

In addition to providing food in your garden through nectar-rich plants, bees also need a place to overwinter. You can purchase a ready-made bee hotel, but it’s easy and fun to make one yourself. Simply drill holes with diameters ranging from 3 to 8 mm in a block of wood, leaving one side closed. Alternatively, you can create a collection of hollow plant stems, such as bamboo, elderberry, blackberry, or Japanese knotweed, in a tin or wooden box. Make sure the hotel remains dry inside and hang it in a sunny spot in your soon-to-be bee garden.

bee hotel