Gardening star Alys Fowler gives bee-friendly tips for your garden
Garden writer and broadcaster Alys Fowler is urging people to create bee-friendly gardens and help save these crucial pollinators.
The former Gardener's World presenter has teamed up with Friends of the Earth for The Bee Cause.
Gardens are becoming one of the most important refuges for both wild and honey bees. They offer a source of chemical-free food, clean water and somewhere to nest. In return they will pollinate your fruits and vegetables, giving you more strawberries, apples and tomatoes to eat.
Alys' top tips to stop the UK's bees from droppping like flies:
Plant nectar and pollen-rich flowers like Crimson clover. Good for bees and soil fertility.
Lacy phacelia is a green manure. Leave it to flower - bees love it. After flowering dig it into your soil to improve fertility.
Allow edibles like coriander and rocket to flower. The bees will pollinate them so that you can collect seed to sow for next year.
Provide clean drinking water. A shallow bowl with pebbles in the middle is fine.
Wild bees need nesting sites. Bundle old stems of stuff like Jerusalem artichokes or bamboo canes. Put them in a south west facing spot out of prevailing winds.
Friends of the Earth is warning gardeners to avoid neonicotinoid insecticides linked to bee deaths. In response to our campaign, leading home and garden centre companies are removing items containing these chemicals from their shelves.
Green-fingered gardeners are usually green-minded too, so we hope they'll help safeguard crucial pollinators by making their gardens bee-friendly.
Andy Atkins, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth
Help Britain's bees by making your garden bee-friendly this year. Please donate to get your bee saver kit - containing essentials to save bees in your area.