Category

Home and Garden

Garden, Home and Garden

How To Attract Bees to Your Garden

how to attract bees

Want to know how to attract bees to your garden?  Let me share with you my bee based secrets!

The poor bees have taken a beating lately.  Between wet summers, a reduction in their natural habitat, disease, and the January 2021 UK Government decision to reintroduce the use of pesticides harmful to bees in the UK, the number of butterflies and bees in the UK has drastically plummeted.  Which as well as being bad news for bees, is bad news for us.  This is because it’s estimated that at least a third of the plants we eat are directly or indirectly dependent on being pollinated by bees.

Our little fuzzy friends need all the help they can get to help recover their population.  First, you can sign the petition to overturn the decision to allow farmers to use bee-harming pesticides in the UK. There are also heaps of things you can do in either your garden or window box, depending on your situation.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a Moral Fibres guide on how to attract bees to your garden (or window box):

Un-bee-lievable ways to attract bees to your garden

how to attract bees to your garden or windowbox

The Plants That Attract Bees To Your Garden

What you plant has a big impact on attracting bees to your garden. Aim to plant a diverse mix of nectar and pollen-rich plants. Not sure what to plant? Steer towards traditional native plants. Think cottage garden and you’re on the right lines.  From roses to lavender, to clematis, to hollyhocks, as well as other classic British varieties such as alliums, butterburs, and geraniums.

If you want something that you can enjoy as much as the bees then edible flowering herbs are a great choice. Herbs such as chives and thyme are highly valued by bees. These are also great choices for window boxes, if you don’t have a garden.

This post on bee friendly plants is also very handy!

The Plants to Avoid

Some plants have been bred by horticulturists to look pretty, but provide little by way of pollen.  For that reason, pansies and double begonias, for example, are best used only as part of a wide range of different flowers in your garden.

Give The Bees A Home

bee hotel to attract bees to your garden

A bee hotel* will encourage solitary bees to lay eggs in your garden.  We popped one in our garden, and it was amazing to sit and watch the bees going in and out of it, and stuffing it with bits of leaves. For a low-cost option, you can bundle some bamboo canes in a south-west corner, out of prevailing winds.  You can also drill holes in some bits of wood, which will also do the job.

Provide Water

It’s also a little-known fact that bees need drinking water. A small shallow dish in your garden will suffice.

Bee Lazy

If all this gardening sounds like too much hard work then don’t worry. Lazy gardeners the country over will be rejoicing when I say don’t be too harsh on the weeds.  Bees and butterflies don’t discriminate between your best flower-show quality roses and the dandelions pushing up on your path or lawn.  Weeds offer pollen and nectar to bees and are just as valuable as any other plants in your garden. So there you go – a nice excuse to put your feet up and let the weeds poke through. You’re doing it for the bees!

Even if you are a proud gardener, it’s prudent leaving an area of your garden to weed over for wildlife in general. Nettles are especially beneficial to butterflies.

The best bit is, the more bees you can attract to your garden then the more your garden will grow with minimal effort from you. This is because the bees will do all the hard work of pollinating all of your flowers and vegetables.

Bee Frugal

how to attract bees to your garden uk

You can buy already established plants at garden centres. However, it’s really easy to get carried away and spend a ton of money.  

A more cost-effective method is to pick up bee-friendly seeds at most garden centres and even supermarkets. This allows you to easily sow a little wildflower meadow for a pound or two.  Devote a patch of your garden to these seeds, or sow some in planters or tubs and the bees will be buzzing about in no time.

The single most cost-effective way of bee-friendly gardening, however, is by getting together with your friends, family, or neighbours, and taking cuttings from any plants you have already established in your gardens.

Most plants take well to being split at the roots – here’s some good advice on how to do it. Or you can take cuttings from them. You could have a little free plant swap.  Or you could take a small payment for each plant (say 25p) and donate the takings to a bee charity, such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

And that’s how to attract bees to your garden!  Have I missed anything?  Do let me know in the comments below!

PS: This post on how to help bees even if you don’t have a garden shows you how to do your bit. And find out how to revive tired bees.

Home, Home and Garden

How to Stop Junk Mail In The UK

how to stop junk mail uk

Sick of unsolicited catalogues and letters? Find out how to stop junk mail in the UK with my handy guide.

Junk mail is one of my biggest bugbears. Lately, I’ve taken it on as my own personal mission to stop as much junk mail as possible coming into my house. As such, I’ve found the best places to sign up to stop junk mail. Before we dive in, first, let me warn you, the direct marketing field is a huge money-making machine. Royal Mail wouldn’t even stop delivering junk mail during the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, organisations make it as difficult as possible for you to opt out. Don’t let it deter you though, I’ve got six handy ways to stop as much junk mail as possible.

how to stop junk mail uk

How to Stop UK Junk Mail

 I’ve been doing a ton of research to find out how to stop this barrage of unwanted mail. What can you do to stop junk mail in the UK? Here are my six top tips:

Opt Out of Junk Mail Online

If you are receiving unwanted mail from a company that you have shopped with in the past, or registered with at some point then you can usually take action. Simply log in to their website, and find the section that allows you to update your communication preferences. You should, in theory, be able to opt-out of direct mailings. Instead, you can switch to email only, or opt-out of all communications. Do note that some companies can take up to 12 weeks for these changes to come into place.

Return Unwanted Mail

If you are unable to opt-out of junk mail online, then you can return your unwanted mail. We get so much unwanted mail from H&M. As well as the shop being terrible for the environment, if you buy something online they will automatically put your name on their catalogue distribution list. They will then send you what seems like at least one catalogue a fortnight.  My partner also found himself on that same H&M mailing list, so it came to be that we were receiving two copies of the same catalogue every fortnight.  We seemed unable to stop junk mail from them on their website.

If you are in a similar predicament with direct mailings from a retailer, you can return any personally addressed junk mail to the sender.  Just cross through your address, and add a note to the envelope asking to be removed from their mailing list. Then put it in the post box.  You don’t need to add a stamp – I never do.  Most companies get the message quite quickly and you won’t receive any more unsolicited mail.

Others, like H&M, are a bit slower on the uptake. It took about 3 months of me returning every brochure that was sent to us before they took us off of their list.

Sign Up For The Mail Preference Service

Next on your checklist for stopping junk mail is to sign up for the Mail Preference Service.  This is a free service that you can use to get your name and address removed from lists used by companies to market their products.  This means you should receive no junk mail addressed to you personally from companies that use lists to send out direct marketing materials.

However, signing up to the Mail Preference Service does not stop mail addressed “to the householder” or “to the occupier”. Nor does it stop unaddressed junk mail from being delivered, nor junk mail originating from abroad.

Sign Up for the Fundraising Preference Service

Are you feeling overwhelmed by unwanted marketing contact from a charity? If the charity in question is registered in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland then you can sign up for the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS). After signing up, it takes around 21 days to stop receiving communications from the charity.

The FPS does not apply to charities registered in Scotland. This is because Scottish charities fall under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel (SFSP). If you are receiving a high volume of unwanted mail from a Scottish charity then you can go through the SFSP complaints process to stop this mail.

Use A No Junk Mail Sticker

The next step you can do is to put a “no junk mail”, or “no circulars” sticker or sign on your letterbox.  This will help remind people, such as local fast food shops, not to put circulars through your letterbox. You can find no junk mail stickers on Etsy* from around £2.

Note, that the use of a no junk mail sticker won’t stop the delivery of free newspapers. You’ll have to add a “no free newspapers” sign on your letterbox as well. I know, it’s ridiculous.

Opt-Out of Junk Mail With Royal Mail

A no junk mail sticker will not stop the postman from putting junk mail through your letterbox.  This is because postmen are contractually obligated to give you any junk mail that companies have paid Royal Mail to deliver.  

To stop the postman from delivering junk mail to you, you have to opt-out via the Royal Mail website.  I’ve found that Royal Mail makes this unnecessarily difficult because Royal Mail gets paid to deliver junk mail, so it’s not in their best interests.  You have to download a form, which you then have to fill in send it back to them via the mail. Not email, because you know, it’s not 2021!

It’s certainly less long-winded than it used to be. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this process lets you opt out of junk mail for two years only. After two years, you then have to re-contact Royal Mail and go through the whole rigmarole again.  

Final Thoughts

You probably won’t manage to stop every piece of junk mail from coming into your home. However, following these five steps should hopefully significantly reduce the amount of junk landing on your doormat.

Have I missed anything on how to stop junk mail?  Let me know in the comments below!