We need at least four varieties in flower at any time to attract bees to a garden.
We need at least four varieties in flower at any time to attract bees to a garden. Contributed

Get your garden buzzing with bees

May 20 is World Bee Day, a day when we can all start doing a bit more to help protect this most precious resource.

Honey bees will travel several kilometres on a single trip to forage, and, for the sake of efficiency, they will go where there is abundant pollen and nectar.

So think of your garden as being a well-appointed rest stop for honey bees out on a foraging road trip. You don't need to provide accommodation, but a range of delicious food and fresh water is a must.

Native bees and other pollinators don't travel as far as honey bees, but they too will benefit from a year-round supply of nectar and pollen.

Experts say there are a few things we need to do to get pollinators into our gardens. First, we need flowers with nectar and/or pollen, and not just one or two flowers here and there.

We need at least four varieties in flower at any time, and, ideally, we need clumps that are at least a metre in diameter. Use a range of colours, and include flowers of different shapes and sizes to accommodate different types of pollinators.

Thyme, oregano, sage, lemon balm, basil, coriander, lavender, borage and rosemary are a good place to start. One of my favourite bee-attracting herbs is rocket - it goes to flower pretty quickly and when the seeds are ripe they fall and the next crop is under way.

I'd have groundcovers and small shrubs - nemesia, angelonia, bacopa, buddleia, salvia, pentas and gazania. Good large shrubs and trees include camellias, roses, citrus and other fruit trees, jacarandas and magnolias.

And let's not forget all the wonderful native plants - grevilleas, callistemon, scaevola, hakea, eucalypts, leptospermum, banksia, melaleucas, syzygiums and xanthostemon (Golden Penda).



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