A little about Cottage Farm Nurseries

October 5, 2021

Cottage Farm Nurseries is located in the small village of Cardington, Bedfordshire, on the outskirts of town and we have everything you'll need to transform your garden into a lovely space.

Established in 1971, we are a family-owned company with two formerly trained partners. We welcome trade and retail clients to our nursery, where we have an extensive variety of everything from shrubs and bedding plants to farmyard manure and compost.

Established in 1971, we are a family-owned company with two formerly trained partners. We welcome trade and retail clients to our nursery, where we have an extensive variety of everything from shrubs and bedding plants to farmyard manure and compost.

Encouraging Bees into the Garden

Whilst providing our customers flowers and other beautiful garden-related items, we also promote the use of bee-friendly plants which helps encourage bees and other pollinating insects into the garden.

Over the last 3 decades, there has been a rapid decline in bee numbers in the UK and this has been caused by several factors but mostly down to pesticides, loss of habitat, climate change and changing farming practices.

We want to assist in reversing this trend by offering you plants that will benefit your garden's bee population. By choosing the right plants for your garden, you can help support these vital creatures. So, let's have a look at why bees are important and how we can collectively help them to thrive.

The bee crisis broken down...

The bee population is declining rapidly and, according to some reports, has halved in the last 25 years. If that wasn't enough to alarm you, then here are some other important factors about bees that you should be aware of:

  • Bees pollinate 80% of the world's plants.
  • They're responsible for over 165 crop species which provide 90% of our food supply.
  • Only 1/3 of honeybees survive past 12 months and the rest are lost through winter starvation or disease.
  • Of those 3%, 20% die from pesticide poisoning.
  • Bees are now being identified as endangered species.

Bees and Pollination

There are around 200 known types of bee in the UK. The female worker bees search for nectar and pollen, while the male drones fertilize new queens during mating season.

Once a queen has been fertilised by a drone, she'll then leave her colony to start a new one elsewhere with 10-20,000 worker bees tending to her every need.

Pollen is attractive to honeybees because it contains their source of protein (around 35% protein) and bees get all of their minerals, vitamins and fats from the pollen.

Bees make two different types of honey; one is made from nectar (which they collect using their long tongues and store in little pots on their legs) and another is called "bee bread" which is a type of processed flower pollen that has been stored in cells inside the hive.

The bee will take this mixture back to the hive each time it returns with lots of nectar and enzymes secreted by glands within its head and finally break down this mixture into honey.

Climate Change

Although it's been around for a long time, the effects of climate change on bee populations is still a mysterious and highly debated topic.

However, we do know that bees are affected by different weather patterns which can make their jobs more difficult. This means they have to work even harder to find habitats that support them whilst ensuring their colonies stay healthy and free from disease.

Climate change has been linked as one of the reasons behind colony collapse disorder (CCD), an occurrence that affects beehives all over the world where worker bees suddenly disappear from the hive leaving behind the queen and some food stores.

How can we help bees in Bedfordshire?

Buy local

You can help support the bee community by buying local produce. Buying food produced in the United Kingdom helps to preserve a healthy environment for honeybees because a number of these crops are grown without pesticides or other chemicals.

Create a Bee Bath

Bees are always on the go, collecting nectar and foraging. Fill a shallow birdbath or bowl with clean water and arrange pebbles and stones beneath the surface so that they reflect sunlight. Bees will land on the stones and pebbles to take a long, refreshing drink.


You can grow bee-friendly flowers in your garden. Bees adore bright colours and require pollen and nectar from blooming plants, so use as many kinds of flowers as feasible throughout the spring season, when bumblebees are most active. At Cottage Farm Nurseries, we encourage our customers to plant bee loving plants and an example of these are Perennials. Here is an example list:

  • Achillea
  • Brunnera Jack Frost
  • Cimicifuga Pink Spike
  • Dianthus
  • Euphorbia
  • Foxgloves
  • Geraniums

Providing Shelter for Bees

We all know that bees love flowers, but they also need somewhere to nest. You can help protect beehives by providing shelter for them in the form of bushes and trees. You may also construct your own shelter or buy a pre-built bee hotel — simply hang it in the sun on a sunny, sheltered location in your garden and watch honeybees crawl into the tubes throughout the spring and summer months.

Avoid Using Pesticides

As much as possible, avoid using pesticides in your garden. Pesticides are frequently made from chemicals that are toxic to bees and can kill them very quickly if they come into contact with it. You'll be assisting bees and other insects in living a more fulfilled existence by making this minor adjustment.

Support Local Beekeepers and Organisations

Beekeepers are invaluable members of our community. Not only do they help to support bees, but they also help educate others about the importance of these insects and how to care for them.

There are many national organisations that support honeybees all over the country including: The Bees for Development Trust, BBKA (the British Beekeepers' Association) and BWARS (British Wildlife Rescue & Advisory Service).

Many Beekeepers use honey from their hives to make soaps, lotions, and beeswax candles. Local honey is not only delicious; it's also made using local plants and might help with seasonal allergies! A large portion of the profits these beekeepers make from selling their produce goes back into helping bees.

For more information on the importance of bees please visit: gardentips360.co.uk