Give bees a chance!
Insect pollination is crucial to gardens. Insects, such as bees and butterflies, fly from flower to flower to collect nectar. In the process, pollen collects on their bodies and rubs off on other flowers that they visit. This fertilises the flower and the plant will then grow seeds and the fruit around the seeds. Without insect pollination, many food plants that we grow in our gardens can’t complete the pollination process and won’t produce fruits or vegetables.
You can make your garden a haven for bees and butterflies by planting shrubs and flowers known to be attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Maintaining a natural area with nettles, grasses and wildflowers is good, but not always practical. By providing flowers from early spring, when the first solitary bees emerge, until autumn, you will attract a variety of insects to your garden.
There are a wide range of plants, shrubs and herbs, a few listed below, which are attractive to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. They are easy to grow and provide great colour in the garden.
Bees and butterflies seek out nectar, it's all about food. Providing water is also a bonus, a small pond or bird bath filled up will help attract birds.
Butterflies often prefer a large flower head to land on, bees can climb into Foxgloves but like open flowers as well. Bees see colour differently, and are attracted to blues (and yellow which they see as blue). Most herbs are bee magnets, Oregano and Chives are often covered with masses of bees and insects.
There are some plants which are strongly recommended: the common Buddleia which is known as the butterfly bush but really does get covered in butterflies. Equally attractive is the late summer flowering Sedum which can be planted around the base of the Buddleia to provide a butterfly feast. Bees are drawn to Oregano, Alliums, Foxgloves, Veronicastrum and Rudbeckias.
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These fantastic gardening tips have come from our local gardening centre Oaklands Nursery in Street. Have you been working hard in your garden? We’d love to see it! Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share them on social media