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It pays to plant for pollinators

There’s nothing quite like the gentle buzz of bees in the garden on a warm summer’s day. Flitting from flower to flower, they are vital cog in the natural cycle and an essential pollinator, if you grow fruit and vegetables.

Yet, with climate change, loss of habitat and disease, the British bee is under threat with numbers rapidly declining.

Gardeners can do their bit to help by planting for pollinators, choosing plants that will attract bees and other beneficial insects.

Lavender is a good summer choice.

Go for plants that are rich in pollen or nectar and easy for insects to feed from, avoiding too many double flowers or those with multiple petals.

Make sure your garden has a range of flower shapes, particularly single or bell-shaped blooms as these will suit both short and long-tongued bees. And don’t forget trees, fruit trees and others, including lime, ornamental cherry and crab apples are all beneficial for bees.

Also, plant for every season to provide food for pollinators year-round. Good plants for winter include the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, winter aconites and mahonia.

In spring, crocus, euphorbia and the native wild primrose will all bring in the pollinators.

Foxgloves are popular with bees.

Summer is filled with pollen-rich possibilities. Foxgloves, lavender and scabious are just some of the easy-to-grow plants that pollinators will love.

Finally, finish the year off with asters, dahlias and Japanese anemones.

Once you’ve made your choices, plant in blocks, as bees often make separate journeys for each type of flower and avoid using pesticides, especially when plants are in flower.

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