What to plant in your garden to attract bees and other pollinators.
However large or small your garden, or whether it be in pots on a patio, there are lots of plants you can add which will be of benefit to our little friends. With a lot of their natural habitat destroyed, we can help pollinating insects by choosing the right kind of plants for them. It's not just plants that are important, they also need water to drink. Bees are most attracted to open centred plants. Blousy, frilly flowers look nice, but pollinators cannot get inside to access nectar and pollen. Sadly, most of the UK has very few meadows left now. If you have enough space for one, and it doesn't have to be big, there are wild flower seed suppliers on line with a range of seed to suit all types of soils.
Finally, leave an untidy corner in your garden for wildlife. They like log piles, leaves and if you have any spare lumps of wood, drill holes into it for insects to over winter. Alternatively, there are bug hotels available to attach to a wall or garden shed.
Early Spring: One of the earliest flowering bulbs are Snowdrops and Crocus Some of the smaller varieties of daffodils Dandelions are a good source of forage for bumblebees, so keep some in your lawn Appleblossom and other fruit tree blossoms Hazel catkins Bluebells Cowslips
Spring: Grape Hyacinth Lesser Celandine Comfrey Forget me not Campanula Muscari Ribes – flowering currant
Early Summer: Bugle Honeysuckle Chives Alliums – the lovely tall varieties are a magnet for bees Cranesbill – hardy geranium Sallvia
Summer: Clover Cornflower Open centred roses such as the dog rose and Rosa Rugosa varieties Lavender Nepeta – catmint Red hot Poker Bergamot Hollyhock Rosebay willow herb Buddleia
Late Summer and Autumn: Rosa Rugosa species are open centred with a delightful perfume and very attractive to pollinators. In late summer and through Autumn, butterflies and birds feed on the lovely tomato hips.
Autumn: Mint Mahonia Ivy – this is one of the latest flowers for pollen and nectar Heather Knapweed – (late summer into early Autumn)
Winter: Gorse Hellebore Ground Ivy
Trees: There are lots of tree and hedge, bee friendly plants, so worth thinking about if you have the space in your garden. Hawthorn Cherry Goat Willow Hazel Rowan Lime Plum Horse Chestnut Apple Blackthorn – can be invasive, but excellent for a variety of insects.
Many of the above plants and smaller trees can be grown in containers. Potted herbs such as Oregano, Marjoram and flowering Thymes are also very attractive to pollinators. A comprehensive leaflet is available from the Welsh Beekeepers' Assocaition. Visit www.wbka.
We hope our suggestions are of help, but should you need further advice, please contact us through our website.