Bee-friendly planting

The Great British Bee is one of the most important players in British agriculture, pollinating a third of everything we eat and more generally keeping the planet’s ecosystem sustained.

However bees are in vast decline all over the world due to man-made changes in their habitats through new farming techniques and urbanisation; since 1945, 97% of wildflower meadows in the UK have disappeared. This is why it is so important that the garden owners of Britain do their bit for bees, and it really is as simple as planting.

We have put together a list of some of the best plants for bees, and other pollinators too.

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Bees see the colour purple more clearly than any other so any purple plant will be a hit. Lavender, and English Lavender in particular, seems to be a firm favourite.

Bluebeard (Caryopteris clandonensis) – This small perennial, also purplish blue in colour, is  very popular with butterflies too.

Bergamot (Monarda didyma) – Also known as Bee Balm, this relatively low-maintenance perennial looks great all the way through to early autumn.

Single Dahlias – Bees often struggle with double flowers as they are usually quite elaborate, so single flowers are the best for pollinators. Most single dahlias will attract the creatures but for the greatest attraction try the Bishop of Oxford.

Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) – This long-flowering perennial keeps the bees occupied for the whole summer.

Heleniums – These late-summer perennials not only look great late into the summer but bees and butterflies are particularly fond of them too.

Salvias – Providing a bountiful supply in the heat of midsummer, salvias are great for pollinators and make a fantastic addition to any garden.

Echinaceas – Bees particularly love cone flowers; they’re are easy to access and help produce some of the most delicious honey.

By planting some of these in your garden you’re giving a tremendous help to the bees of Britain. And it isn’t just down to gardens in the country; 4 Asmuns Hill, NGS opener in North West London, was featured on Inside Out – London last year, as a prime example of a London garden doing its part for pollinators!


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