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Plants to attract bees & pollinators

Updated: 3 days ago

Saving bees is a hot topic right now. We realise how important they are and the impact they have on our food chain and ecosystem. It's estimated that a third of the food we consume on a daily basis relies on pollination. If we want to keep eating the food we love we must do all we can to support bees and pollinators. So, build habitats and choose to grow plants that attract bees and pollinators.

Lavender - this is a classic bee plant and is a great option for gardens whatever their size as it can be planted in the ground or in tubs for patios. It's a hardy plant that looks great all year and there's nothing more lovely than a carpet of purple when in flower. Obviously this scented plant delivers a wonderful aroma too. Dry the flower heads for lavender bags or use them to make a natural fragrant confetti.

Tip: After flowering, just trim back the flower heads. Do not cut back into the wood.

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Digitalis - known by the more common name of Foxglove. They are an early summer bloomer and one of the few that happily grows in a shaded spot. Bumblebees are the chief pollinator of the foxglove so as well as enjoying the gorgeous flower stems, listen out for the gentle buzz from the bees too.

Tip: Foxgloves may be beautiful but they are quite toxic to humans, animals and poultry. This is something to bear in mind when planting - for example, avoid positioning where toddlers can reach the thimble flowers.

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Campanula - naturally attractive to bees thanks to the beautiful blooms which are perfect for sunny, herbaceous borders.

Tip: Campanula can be quite rampant and can spread to the smallest nook and cranny. To help alleviate this, plant in a pot to help contain the spread.

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Cosmos - we love Cosmos and they bloom all throughout summer. They're easy to grow from seed but produce an abundance of tall majestic stems with delicate, daisy-like flowers and feathery leaves.

Tip: Cosmos make wonderful cut flowers for a summer table display.

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Alliums & Chives - bees in particular love all members of the allium family, which includes both chives and onions. The large flower heads mean bees and pollinators don't have far to travel and have plenty of time to graze - probably why they're so popular. Alliums are perennial and our faithful crop of chives have been coming back and flowering for many years. They're easy to grow, low maintenance and prefer a sunny spot.

Tip: The dried flower heads make a great all-natural display.

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Cornflowers - easy to grow, cornflowers provide the garden with a wonderful blue hue throughout the summer months. They have some fabulous alter-ego names: blue bottle, bachelor's buttons, brooms & brushes, corn-blinks, ladder love, logger-heads, miller's delight, pin cushion, witch bells and witch's thimble.

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Borage - also known as Starflower which comes from their attractive star-shaped blue flowers. Borage provides ample sweet nectar, perfect for bees, in particular honeybees. You will need to grow from seed but it will self-seed from then on.

Tip: Borage is great for some drinks. Eat young borage leaves to add texture to a salad.

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Buddleia - the common name for this plant is 'Butterfly Bush'. This is by no exaggeration as it is a big attraction of many pollinators; butterflies in particular. Buddleia's produce large aromatic flowers and should be planted in a warm, sunny spot.

Top Tip: Buddleia's are easy to grow but check the label before you buy as there are lots of varieties: from dwarf through to very large bushes.

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Echinacea - Also known as coneflower, these can grow up to 2 feet tall. Echinacea produces pollen and nectar for bumblebees and butterflies. They are useful to pollinators as they pump out as much nectar during midday and the afternoon as they do in the morning.

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Us two. Sharing our experiences both here in the UK and our overseas trips. Oh, and we like to eat so we'll be sharing our favourite restaurants, recipes and foods too as well as our home-grown garden stories. 

 

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