Plant a bespoke bee garden

Plant a bespoke bee garden

A new online tool is offering advice on pollinator-friendly plants to turn your garden into a haven for a variety of bumblebee species.

The interactive Planting for Pollinators tool, part of the citizen science project BeeWatch, lets you choose a bumblebee species and discover its favourite plants, or select a plant and identify which bumblebees rely on it. There is even an option to list several plants already in your garden and find out what bumblebee species to expect and which additional plants would fill gaps in nectar and pollen provision.

BeeWatch has been run since 2010 by the University of Aberdeen and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to monitor bumblebees across the UK, and members of the public have submitted over 13,000 bumblebee photographs for identification. This has allowed scientists to monitor different bumblebee species across the UK in a way that would not be feasible without the public’s help.

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BeeWatch also holds a wealth of information contributed by the public about which flowers the different species prefer. Professor René van der Wal, Project Co-ordinator at Aberdeen University, says, “We hope that more photo submissions of bumblebees and the plants they feed on will enable the ‘Planting for Pollinators’ system to grow and provide increasingly detailed feedback to users as well as enhancing our scientific understanding of the bumblebees found across the UK, and that the planting information will allow people to take positive action rather than just being overwhelmed by the many environmental concerns.”

Find out more at and try the Planting for Pollinators tool at

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Steve Ott
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