To support Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge [1], the designer of a new ‘Buzz Border’ at the National Trust’s Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire has shared tips on how everyone can attract these important pollinators into their gardens.

The 10 x 3m Buzz Border includes a wide range of plants to maximise biodiversity and spread pollen and nectar across a long period, continuing Nunnington Hall’s commitment to biodiversity and gardening using organic principles.

Gardener Cal Stewart, who designed the border, said: ‘While many of us will be familiar with bumblebees, there are actually more than 200 species of bee in the UK and they are critical, pollinating the food crops we all rely on. 

‘We hope the border, and wider garden, show that there are easy things gardeners can plant, and do, to give bees a much-needed helping hand.’

The border includes a Solitary Bee observation nest box hand-made by ecologist and environmental educator George Pilkington and installed in spring. By June, red mason bees had filled the nest box with pollen and eggs, sealing each 8mm tube with a wall of mud.

‘This bee home will help increase bee populations in our garden. Thanks to observation windows on either side of the home, and our bee walks, visitors can watch this natural spectacle and understand more about its importance to our gardens and lives.’ 

Becky Falkingham, Nature Evidence Data Officer, added: ‘The Trust is extremely concerned about the decline of bee populations, due to climate and land-use change, habitat loss, and pesticide use. Pollinators are essential for the production of around 1 in every 3 bites of food – which is part of the reason why it’s important to find ways to conserve them.

‘We’re working hard to prevent and reverse the decline of flower-rich habitat by restoring and creating 25,000ha of Priority Habitat by 2025, encouraging our tenant farmers to take up nature-friendly farming methods, installing bee hotels and bug boxes in many of our gardens, and creating pollinator-friendly borders like the one at Nunnington Hall. We hope that this will inspire others to create their own bee friendly gardens.’

Those looking for bee-friendly gardens to visit can find more inspiration on the National Trust’s website at


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