Attracting Garden Pollinators – by Jean Vernon.

Book review and one copy to give away.

Published by White Owl, imprint of Pen and Sword Books

Published summer 2022

Hardback. £25

ISBN 1526711907

Please leave a comment at the end of the review if you would like to be put into the publisher’s prize draw for one copy of the book. Names will be chosen randomly.

Right by my front door, on a warm, sunny south-facing wall, we have a selection of bee ‘houses’ some home-made from cardboard tubes and garden canes, and some purchased at a local supermarket. These are a source of wonder and joy as clouds of solitary bees hatch out and start to forage in the front garden. Watching a new, baby bee hatching out of its winter cocoon is such an exciting and magical moment. Thanks to a new book on attracting pollinators to our gardens, I’ve been able to identify our bees. They are red mason bees; solitary bees that nest in wall cavities and readily use bee houses like ours. In Jean Vernon’s book I’ve learned these bees are fond of fruit tree nectar and pollinate apples, pears and other spring and summer-flowering trees. So I’m expecting a bumper crop of fruit this year. And I’ve learned these bees, like most solitary bees, do not sting, so there’s no danger to me or any visitors walking past the bees to get to the front door. Reading on, I learn that one way to help my bees is to leave a mud patch nearby so there’s plenty of material to seal their eggs cells. It’s completely calming and relaxing watching the bees going about their daily lives, and I want to do all I can to help them. It would be terrible to think of these bees emerging into the world and not finding anything nearby to eat. Jean points out that some solitary bees will only travel a few metres from their nests to find sustenance and they will starve if there’s not enough suitable plants flowering at the right moment.

Here’s a photo of a red mason bee in Jean’s book. (photo by Liam Olds).

Jean’s book is split into chapters on identifying and learning about specific pollinators such as butterflies, moths, bees, and hoverflies among others, and advice on which plants to grow to help pollinators.

Hoverflies are amongst the types of pollinators highlighted in the book.
Butterflies and bees sharing the same plant.
Even small spaces can accommodate plants for pollinators. This year, I’ve taken Jean’s advice and planted my hanging baskets with calendula, lavender, nasturtium and marjoram.
Borage is one of the ‘plants for pollinators’ highlighted in the book.
Cosmos is another favourite of mine and it’s good to know it will provide food for pollinators all through summer from June to October. Flat daisy-like flowers are good because there’s plenty of room for several insects to land and feed at the same time.

Photo of Jean by Hannah McVicar.

If you’ve been listening to BBC Radio Leicester you’ll know that Attracting Garden Pollinators has twice been my Book of the Week. I’m happy to recommend such an easy to read and information-packed book. Jean writes in a friendly and accessible way. Her passion for nature and wildlife shines through and you can’t help but get caught up and carried along by her enthusiasm for the subject. Simple ways to help pollinators are suggested, and you don’t need a huge garden to make a difference. Even a windowbox or container can be a five star diner!

I wrote about Jean’s other best-selling book here:

Please leave a comment in the box below if you would like to enter the publisher’s prize draw for one copy of the book. Names will be randomly drawn. I will only contact you on this page and no payment of any kind will be asked for. Please be aware of scams. Please also feel free to leave a comment if you don’t want to be included in the draw. Just let me know.

Signed copies of both books are available from the author’s website here :

Thank you for reading my blog and book reviews. Are you growing any plants with pollinators in mind? Have you tried making a bee house? I was fascinated to read you can buy red mason bee cocoons to hatch out in your garden. Alternatively, invest in some special mason bee tubes and install them in a nesting box . You can replace the tubes each year to keep the nest free from pests and parasites.

24 thoughts on “Attracting Garden Pollinators – by Jean Vernon.

  1. You may or may not recall that we have been red mason bee ‘guardians’ for quite a few years now – after your first year you get sent back as many cocoons as you return in the autumn and ours are gradually increasing year on year. Interestingly, they store the cocoons on a regional basis so ours will always be of Midlands origin

    Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderful! I’d forgotten about that. What a wonderful idea. I know it is possible to buy red mason bee cocoons, just didn’t realise you could send them for winter care, and have them return in the spring. I’m really enjoying watching mine forage in the garden and return to the bee hotels. Some of the chambers are filled already. Have a great week Cathy, and thanks for reading my blog.


      • They check them over and store them in optimal conditions, and can tell if they have been attacked by any other beasties. They also identify any other species that have nested too


  2. Karen I love your houses for bees and how you take care of them and care about them; as well as for all the pollinators that you enthusiastically feed with flowers especially for them like those hanging baskets with marigolds, lavender, nasturtium and marjoram, they must be divine: I love your enthusiasm for taking care of nature and its inhabitants, especially the bees that are going extinct. I share it with you.
    The photos in the book are fantastic, as is the book which is very instructive and practical – I love it. I would very much like to have it, but I understand that it is not sent to Spain.
    Health, strength, encouragement, hope, positive thinking and lots of love for your whole family, Mr B and for you in particular. Karen affectionate caresses for the whole “Gang”. Take care. Happy gardening. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx🌞💚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Margarita. Thanks for reading my blog and for your support, which is as ever, much appreciated. Have a great week. Very affectionate greetings from us all too xxx ❤️🌞😃


  3. Good to see a post from you Karen 😀 Thanks for your review. It sounds a most interesting book but please don’t enter me for the draw. My bookshelves are in the process of a serious cull at the moment. I will look out in the library for this title.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Thanks for your support and kind comments. I’m glad to be back writing again. It’s a fascinating book. Very well-written and full of interesting snippets. I love the local library too. I use it quite a lot at the moment. Thanks again for reading my blog, and have a great week. Karen x


  4. Love that this book isn’t devoted just to large gardens but that suggestions are also given for pots and hanging baskets as well as small garden spaces. I downsized from a larger property to a condo and keep looking for ways to bring more of the beauty of nature to my surroundings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading my review Mary. Exactly true. I love the fact that there is always something you can do to make a difference, even small steps, to help nature and enhance your natural surroundings. You don’t need a large space to help bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Thanks as ever for reading my blog and for taking the time to leave a comment.


  5. Hi Karen,,

    Good to see you around on WP.

    Gill looks so accessible and friendly. The sample of her book comes across the same way. The illustrations are beautiful. Even if you don’t have a big or small garden there is a lot to be learned, from what I have seen here, for the creative flower enthusiast who works in small spaces. If it comes my way, I would love this book. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there! Thanks for reading my blog. Yes, it’s been a while. I have been overwhelmed with family cares, as you can imagine. However, I’m starting to feel a bit better now and getting back to having more time to write. Thank you for reading the review. Yes, the photos and illustrations are beautiful and you don’t need a huge space to make a difference. Even small steps can make a difference. I’ll put your name in the draw. Good luck and check back on Saturday to see who has won. It’s a super book and would make a wonderful gift for anyone too. Take care, and thanks again for welcoming me back to WP. I’m delighted readers haven’t forgotten who I am! Karen xxx


  6. Oh this looks a fabulous book. I try and grow lots of plants to encourage beneficial insects into the garden but I am always looking for lots of new ideas to encourage more – this book sounds such an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Su. Thanks for reading the blog and leaving a comment. Yes it’s open to everyone. Many readers are from the US. Good luck with your gardening project. Please keep me informed. Check back on Saturday to see who has won the book. Many thanks again for taking the time to read my review. It’s much appreciated. Do have a look around and see if there are any other pieces of writing or recipes you like. Karen


    • Thank you Pauline for reading the blog and for taking the time to leave a comment. I started with a tiny bee house and was fascinated to see it filled in one weekend. I’m out there watching every day now. Some of the bees block the end of the tubes with little torn off leaves, and all the different bee species use different coloured mud. Please check back on Saturday to see who has won the book. Many thanks again. Do look around and see if you like any of the other pieces of writing here,and there’s recipes too. Regards. Karen


    • Thank you Gill for reading my blog and for taking the time to comment. I would love to attend one of Jean’s talks! I’m hoping she will come to the midlands to do one soon. Please look back on Saturday to see who has won the book. Meanwhile, do have a look around the blog for other items you might like to read. Thanks again. Regards. Karen


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