Prospering pollinators: How to curate a wildlife haven

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Pollinators are the ‘unsung heroes’ of the garden, responsible for providing humans with one of every three food mouthfuls, producing natural resources, and sustaining ecosystems. Inspired by this week’s World Bee Day, Haskins is encouraging gardeners to embrace bumblebees and other pollinators by creating thriving outside spaces.


Haskins Garden Centres’ in-house plant expert, Alasdair Urquhart says, “Bees are a crucial ally for gardeners, helping to maintain vital food systems and pollinating crops, fruit, and vegetables.


“You can take simple and cost-effective steps to support pollinators while also creating abundant plots.”


Alasdair suggests four simple ways to encourage pollinators and add a splash of colour.


Idea #1: Add some colour, and welcome pollinators to your garden

Alasdair advises, “Colourful flowers are brilliant for attracting pollinators and brightening up gardens.


“Bees’ vision is more sensitive to the ultra-violet spectrum, so flowers with a yellow, purple, violet, or blue hue are great options. Distribute flowers of these colours in the garden to attract bumblebees and create a vibrant outdoor space.


“Plants with compound and composite flowers are pollinator friendly, for example those that are daisy-shaped or thistle-like. These are composed by lots of smaller flowers called florets that create an overall head and contain more nectar per plant than the average blossom.”


Idea #2: A different flavour for pollinators

Alasdair says, “Herbs are beneficial for pollinators and double up as the ideal accompaniment for a summer meal. SageMint, and Thyme are great forage plants for bees, and all add delicious flavour to dinners.


“Aromatic plants are excellent for bees, providing them with protein-dense pollen and energy-rich nectar to feed the young and sustain their colonies.


“You can also use herbs as natural pest deterrents. Organic pesticides allow gardeners to stop depending on chemical pest control methods, minimising the risk of damaging delicate ecosystems.”


Idea #3: Plant out seed mixes to support pollination

Alasdair says, “Encourage pollinating insects by planting a nectar bar with wildflower seed mixes and Borage. These create long-lasting wildlife habitats that support biodiversity in the garden.


"When using seed mixes, remove any weeds or large stones before digging over the soil and levelling out the plot. Mix the seeds in their packet before sprinkling in a criss-cross pattern to achieve an even coverage. Once firmed down, gently water seeds to kick-start healthy growth.


“As the flowers bloom they will offer an attractive area for bees and allow pollinators to thrive in your garden.”


Idea #4: Create nesting habitats for solitary bees

Alasdair says, “Solitary bees do not live in colonies, instead building individual nests and working alone. Urbanisation, intensive agriculture, and pesticides are sadly threatening solitary bees’ natural habitats. As they are one of the most prolific pollinating insects and generally more docile than bumblebees, you should consider creating nesting habitats for them nearby.


“Create a bug hotel for solitary bees by drilling small holes in logs and wood blocks or tie together pieces of bamboo cane. Place the bug hotel on the side of a fence or shed in a southerly area, as solitary pollinators benefit from the extra warmth during colder months.”


More ideas for supporting pollinators

Gardeners who want to support bees can head to their nearest Haskins Garden Centre for expert advice. More top tips are available at: