Insects may be some of the smallest visitors to your garden, but they are also the most important. Increase their numbers and other species will follow. Bee numbers are declining in the UK and we need to do whatever we can to protect these vital pollinators.
All bee species perform an incredibly important function in our gardens and help to keep the garden healthy. To help create a bee friendly habitat try to include a variety of plants in your garden. Planting with varying flowering times ensures that a food source is available to them throughout the year and provides them with a varied diet.
Although studies show that bees prefer native or near-native species, including some exotic plants that flower at different times to our native species can help to give them a meal after the native display is over.
Solitary bee houses are available from many garden centres or online. Placing a few of these around your garden will encourage solitary bees to make your garden a home where they will help to pollinate your plants. Dead heading flowers regularly is also an effective way to help boost bee numbers as it will keep your plants flowering for longer.
So often when discussing pollination one of our most beautiful pollinating insects is forgotten: butterflies. These stunning and evocative creatures are a joy to watch in the garden and are crucial to the pollination of our plants. Leaving untouched areas of your garden help to provide butterflies with shelter which certain species such as the Goat Willow can provide food for specific butterflies such as the majestic purple emperor. To further increase butterfly numbers, you could try to include a butterfly feeding station.