Lawns, provided can present excellent opportunities for helping bees.
Depending on your circumstances, opportunities could range from
Do remember, you can also include wildflowers in your flower border. Sometimes, we just need to be a bit flexible in our thinking, rather than stick to the usual ornamentals we've grown accustomed to filling our borders with.
Before you start, do consider what is practical for your circumstances. If you have young children who are likely to be running around barefoot or in open-toed sandals whilst bees are foraging, they could get stung if you have a flowering lawn that is attractive to bees.
In such cases, perhaps it is best to leave it until the children are older, or reserve a particular patch for the bees, where the children are taught to observe whilst wearing appropriate footwear.
Not that bees are deliberately out to sting anyone - but accidents can happen if a bee is stepped on!
In addition, if you frequently use chemicals on your lawn, it doesn't make sense to try and make it attractive to bees. They could be poisoned.
Here are a few ideas to set you on your way to creating a lawn that has some features which are great for bees and other wildlife.
If you are going to convert a whole area, you'll need to take into account soil conditions, as well as light, and you'll want to ensure you have a native flower mix.
Suppliers can usually offer specific advice depending on your circumstances. The information I'm presenting on this page however, is general, and includes a range of ideas.
The idea of long grasses or tall flowers may not be possible or appealing, but there are still ways in which you can create a lawn for bees.
Many flower bulbs provide excellent nectar and pollen sources for bees, including during winter and spring.
I have been focusing lately on encouraging clover to spread in my lawn. It has a number of benefits to both humans and bees! Clover is such a helpful plant for bees, I have a whole page on my site in which I advocate it for councils too - it's such an easy win! It offers many advantages:
You could opt for a selection of low-growing wildflowers that bees like such as: lesser celandines, selfheal, and bird's foot trefoil, for example.
However, many gardeners are against these, because of their spreading habit, and some people refer to them as a persistent weed.
Personally, I think they look very pretty. If you opt for bird's foot trefoil, be aware that it can look rather ragged as it dies for the winter.
Please check that none of these are considered invasive in your country before encouraging them to flourish in your garden.
Having a herb lawn, even a small one, is a great way to add interest and variety, as well as helping pollinators. Herbs can provide fragrance and colour, and for bees I certainly recommend a thyme lawn.
According to one study1 thyme may help maintain bee health by providing natural protection against bacteria and diseases.
Read more about this on my page: Do bees like thyme?
Even small spaces can accommodate many wildflowers, and this could attract different types of bees and butterflies, by providing much needed pollen and nectar.
So how can it be achieved? There are several methods:
1. Wiese, N., Fischer, J., Heidler, J. et al. The terpenes of leaves, pollen, and nectar of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) inhibit growth of bee disease-associated microbes. Sci Rep 8, 14634 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-32849-6
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Planning And Planting A Bee Friendly Garden
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