Our gardens are extremely important for bees and other pollinators, providing them with the nectar and pollen they need to thrive, as well as nesting habitats. By growing a good mix of flowering plants in your garden, you can provide a wealth of nectar and pollen for a wide range of bee species.
Here are 5 popular plants that you can grow in your garden to help the bees.
It is the purple-blue colour of Bluebells which will attract bees in their droves. For many bee species, the sustenance of Bluebells’ nectar is vital during the early spring months. Bees are not the only wildlife which will be attracted by Bluebells in the garden – with the flowers also luring butterflies and hoverflies.
2. Forget me not
These little flowers are huge favourites with bees thanks to the attractively-coloured petals and easy-to-access nectar. Most species of bees will appreciate the inclusion of Forget me nots in the garden– a plant easily grown in most gardens.
3. Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
As the name suggests, the flowers of the Butterfly bush hugely popular with butterflies – but they also appeal to other winged visitors. Bees love the slender cones of small flowers which blossom throughout the summer – thanks to the attractive light tones and fragrant plumes. There are many new exciting cultivars such as the ‘Buzz’ series of smaller growing plants with extended flowering season and more prolific flowers.
Research suggests that the larger lavender cultivars are the best for bees. You can find varieties from fragrant white to luscious dark purple. Look for the hardier and less picky Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandin x intermedia cultivars for individual plants or to make a lovely hedge.
Once spring is springing the honeybee colony starts building up again. At the beginning of its cycle it needs pollen to feed its new brood, which can initially be in short supply. A great source for it at this time of year is crocuses; you can see the bees flying back to the hive with their distinctive orange pollen from February. Crocuses are pretty, easy plants to grow, and will naturalise easily in your lawn. Go for varieties of Early Crocus tommasinianus, which are easy to find and cheap. The bulbs should be planted in autumn.
Please also see our other blog 5 plants to forage in St.Helens.