My FIRST book offers friendly, accessible insight into the weird, but wonderful world of the bees you may find in your garden.

From the common or garden bumblebees that nest in bird boxes, compost heaps and old mouse holes, making ‘Winnie the Pooh’ style honey pots to feed their babes, to the quirky wool carder bee; a solitary bee that combs the fluff from garden plants to line her brood cells and the amazing leaf-cutter bee that carves chunks out of plant foliage to seal its egg chambers.

This book will reveal the secrets and fascinating lives of the bees that live and breed in your garden, from buzz pollination, to bee robbers that cheat the plants and steal nectar by stealth.

With a seasonal guide to explore what you are likely to see in your garden, some great plants to grow to help them, plus other fascinating information on these secretive creatures, this book is designed to bring alive the world of garden bees before your very eyes.

Would you like a signed copy of my bee book?

The hardback of The Secret Lives of Garden Bees sold out in record time! But the paperback is now available and I have author signed copies to send out. I can put a special message into the book to make it personal to you or for a gift, please specify your inscription when ordering.

Best seller

The Secret Lives of Garden Bees has been a Number One Best Seller on Amazon, more than once. It is on its sixth reprint and has been well reviewed. It’s still my ‘first born’ and I have become very proud of it.

Postal Delays

Please bear in mind that parcels are taking longer than normal to arrive. I had one book that took nearly 2-weeks to get to its destination in the UK. The post-office and Royal Mail are swamped at the moment.

BREXIT has changed things for orders from outside of the UK. If you order a book from me and are NOT within the UK you may be liable for extra charges.

The recipient (that is you) may then have to pay customs or VAT charges and a handling fee in the receiving country before they can claim the parcel. These charges will depend on the country they are being sent to, the value of the item and whether it is a gift or commercial goods. These charges do not apply to books sent within the UK. I have no idea what these charges might be, so please check if you are ordering for delivery outside the UK.

If you would like to order a copy, Please follow the link below to my online shop.

If you don’t specify any dedication, notes or special message then I will play safe and simply sign your copy.

My second book Attracting Garden Pollinators is now available as a hard back first edition. Signed copies are on sale at

Reviews for The Secret Lives of Garden Bees

If you want to learn more about my book, do check out some of these reviews. I am humbled by the feedback my book has received.

Debi Holland Gardening

“The more I read about bees, the more I am fascinated by these tiny creatures with an active social life. Some of their behaviour truly horrifies me and other aspects fill me with endearment. Jean has a knack for explaining even the most complicated process with ease and humour; her natural style flows through the pages showing her genuine passion and love of bees.

I cannot recommend The Secret Lives of Bees enough. Alongside the book being a fantastic factual source of reference, which the reader can dip in and out of for planting and habitat tips or bee identification advice, the book is a beautiful photographic record of the life and loves, the ups and downs, the good, the bad and the ugly sides of our dearly cherished but often underrated garden bees. Jean brings all these elements together into what can only be described as a work of art, brimming with personality and I urge you to read it so you too can share Jean’s passion for bees. “

Plants Bulbs Seeds

“Jean’s knowledge and enthusiasm for these creatures is quite infectious, you will find yourselves dashing outside looking for bees and trying to identify which ones they are. I certainly did. From my armchair to my garden, book in hand hoping to find and watch bees.

A huge amount of love for garden bees is what shines through in Jean’s writing, she shares this love, along with an abundance of knowledge with us so that we too can come to love these intelligent, interesting insects and learn how to care for them properly. Let’s do all we can to increase their populations.”

Pumpkin Beth

“This lovely book feels like a warm and friendly, welcoming introduction to bees; telling you all the things you’d really like to know but didn’t know who to ask.  It’s not a text book; you won’t find pictures of every single bee that has ever been sighted in the UK.  Instead, the author focuses our attention on the bees that you’re most likely to discover in your garden. 

The Secret Lives of Garden Bees is peppered with helpful tips on how to invest a respect for bees in children.  This book would be a super gift for a family looking for activities to do together in their garden; it would be especially useful during this period of social isolation, as we remain at home to avoid catching and transmitting COVID-19.  To be honest, I find it hard to think of anyone that wouldn’t enjoy reading this book, it’s lovely!”

Alison Levey Blackberry Garden

“Jean says the book is not a text book but is about sharing her love of bees. She shares this love well, it emanates from the book with every word. It might not be a text book but I have learned a huge amount from it.

One of my favourite parts of the book though is right near the start. It is the comparison between a bee and a fly that shows you the differences. When they are buzzing past me I am often not quick enough to see the differences I admit, but this simple guide is really helpful. I often stare at things on a leaf and think ‘are you a bee or a fly?’. Sometimes I even ask them out loud but now I have an identikit guide I do not need to wait for a reply.

I finished this book on a buzzy high. It is an excellent book.”

Kids of the Wild

“The Secret Lives of Garden Bees, a gorgeous new natural history book by Jean Vernon, wildlife writer for the RHS Journal and gardening contributor in The Daily Telegraph.

It’s genuinely such an interesting book that I found myself not only making notes for this book review but taking lots more for my own personal knowledge.

Jean eloquently captures the essence of all there is to love about bees with her obvious love of nature, wildlife and gardening as well as her own love of bees.

Barbara Segall – The Garden Post

“It is always wonderful to have natural sounds in the garden and through Jean’s lively and informative writing I have found a way into understanding just who the buzzing characters are in my garden. In her introduction Jean says it is not a textbook, and yet it is full of facts and stories about the secret lives of garden bees.”

Tidy Gardens by Jane

“Now if you’re gonna Google ‘all about bees’ then let me save you the time. Grab yourself a copy of Jean Vernon’s new book ‘The Secret Lives of Garden Bees’ and everything you’ll ever need to know will be there and more!

The Secret Lives of Garden Bees simply oooooozes passion.”

The Bonnie Gardener

“A wonderful book, full of helpful tips and facts about bees.  I will certainly be using it as my reference guide going forward.  Jean’s love and admiration for these fantastic insects really shines through.  It is well worth a read!”

Kevin Thomas on Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to our native bees. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 May 2020 “Like many people my interest in bees began with no understanding of the complexity of these fascinating creatures. By far the biggest challenge in learning about them was that the majority of the people studying bees were scientifically trained and wrote for other scientists. All this knowledge and research is largely shared in papers published in academic journals or a few academic textbooks. It is a formidable obstacle for a general reader to both access and understand the formal scientific writing on bees. “The secret lives of garden bee” addresses this challenge head on and guides the reader into the complex life-cycles of bees in everyday language.

“Reading the book it is easy to see that Jean Vernon is obviously passionate about both bees and gardening. It is quite simply an excellent book for anyone wishing to learn about our native bees and how to tailor their gardens to benefit them. The text is accompanied by plenty of photographs provides a wonder insight into the wide variety of our native bees. If you are a newcomer to bees, be prepared to be amazed.

It is a book that I wish was available when my interest in bees began. In providing much needed information on bees to the general reader I feel it is certain to benefit our native bees. This is especially likely with recent research showing a greater variety of bee species in urban areas than in the surrounding countryside. Helping bees in our gardens has never been so important. ”

Michael at Garden Themed Books

“When I received the book my initial impression was how beautiful it was. It’s the kind of book you really want to look at and admire. I think, for me, the word that fits really well to describe the book is ‘spellbinding’ – i.e. it held my attention completely, as if by magic. The photography is simply first class. Almost every double page features a stunning photograph of what is being described within the text. Bees and flowers go so well together, and you will realise this book captures this perfect partnership before you have even read a single page.”

Michael read it from cover to cover and offers a chapter by chapter resume.

“Chapter 3, Bee Behaviour, is going to blow your mind. You will learn so much about bees in this chapter, I certainly did. You will learn things you never knew about stings, why bees buzz, the power of scent, perfume and ultra-violet light, bee harmony and bee love. While reading this chapter I found myself stopping to chat with family members with me saying, ‘Did you know… [insert fascinating bee fact here]? Mind blown. You’ll do the same, I’m sure of it.”

Buglife Director of Fundraising and Communications, Paul Hetherington

“If you are into bees, then this book is a great read packed with interesting facts about all the different bees you are likely to encounter in your garden, as well as things you can do to encourage more of them.”