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Plant a bumblebee garden20 March 2015
Plant a bumblebee garden to help our favourite black-and-yellow insects as they bustle about the garden pollinating our flowers and vegetables. We wouldn't get far as gardeners without them: they're responsible for the glistening displays of berries from autumnal stars such as cotoneaster, beauty berries, berberis and pyracantha; and even more importantly, they pollinate about a third of the crops we grow.
Sadly they're going through a tough time at the moment, with populations plummeting and some species disappearing altogether due to a combination of disease, and habitat loss. It's a cause for concern for us all – so do your bit to help them out by supplying them with a dedicated corner full of nectar-rich plants.
Aim for a good spread of nectar throughout the season, from the earliest February crocuses – the delightful purple C. tommasinianus naturalises happily in long grass – to apple blossom in late spring. Then there are summer favourites like deutzia, foxgloves, honeysuckle and thyme. Later on, grow clover, highly-scented lavender and flowers from the daisy family like rudbeckia, echinacea and asters for a garden that's buzzing with life, feeding your fuzzy friends – and, once they've visited the veg patch, you – for months.