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Bumblebees are one of the gardener’s most reliable friends and play a vital role pollinating plants.

With winter coming, it’s now time for us to repay the favour and Bee the Change!

Summer may be over, but bumblebees still need flowers to feed on right up until the end of autumn – and, in some warmer parts of the UK, through the winter as well.

That’s why the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is urging gardeners to Bee the Change and grow plants that will offer a lifeline.

Here’s a selection of plants the trust recommends, that are easy to grow and look after and should be available to buy right now.

Mahonia BCT
Mahonia (flowers November-March)
Heather BCT
Winter-flowering heather (flowers December-April)
Crocus
Crocus bulbs (flowers December-March)
Stinking hellebore BCT
Stinking hellebore (flowers December-April)*
Pussy willow BCT
Pussy willow (flowers February-March)

Whether you have a garden, a balcony or just a flowerpot, by planting this month you can help feed winter-active bumblebees and hungry queens emerging from hibernation early next spring.

Like Thrive, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is passionate about the health benefits of gardening. Bee the Change is designed to empower anyone to take small, positive steps to help bumblebees, while also supporting their own wellbeing.

Bee macro Jan B

Try spending a few mindful minutes outside watching these fascinating little creatures as they buzz from flower to flower. It’s a great way to engage your senses and connect with nature! You could even download a free bumblebee ID guide and have a go at identifying which bumblebee species are visiting your patch.

For more tips to help bumblebees and Bee the Change, head to the trust’s website.

*Potentially toxic if eaten

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