Wildlife gives life to gardens. Bees are essential pollinators of our flowers and food crops.
Despite this in recent years bee numbers in the UK have been declining. As Save Our Bees say “if our native bees die out we will lose a third of our diet.” This is because bees play an essential part in pollinating the crops that form our food. In addition bees also pollinate the wild plants that grow that provide food for much of other wildlife.
With this in mind the RHS launched their perfect for pollinator’s initiative to help gardeners identify garden plants that are beneficial to pollinators.
Butterflies are a visual delight in any garden. Like bees they enjoy nectar-producing flowers and a sunny warm area.
HOW TO ATTRACT BEES
- By far the best way of attracting of bees into your garden is to provide a good mix of nectar and pollen rich flowers throughout the year. This will also encourage them to nest in your garden too.
- Provide nesting locations for bees. A bee house will attract some types of bees but others may nest in bare soil or in soil under hedges.
- Provide water in a shallow plant saucer.
- Avoid the use of pesticides and do not spray flowers that are in bloom. Nematodes could be a suitable alternative to deal with unwanted pests.
- Plant the sort of plants that bees love – see centre pages.
HOW TO ATTRACT BUTTERFLIES
- As with bees butterflies love flowers rich in nectar. They also prefer heat so flowers in warm locations will be of particular interest to butterflies.
- Butterflies will feed on the juices of over-ripe fruit such as apples and pears.
- As with bees the use of pesticide can seriously harm them. You should not spray and open bloom.
- Install a butterfly house to give them a place to stay in bad weather or to hide from predators.
PLANTS TO ATTRACT BEES AND BUTTERFLIES
- Bulbs: Crocus, Snowdrop
- Perennials: Helleborus
- Shrubs: Mahonia, Sarcococca, Viburnum Tinus
- Bulbs: Muscari
- Climbers: Chaenomelis
- Perennials: Ajuga, Aquilegia, Aubretia, Bergenia, Erysimum, Euphorbia, Hardy Geranium, Geum, Iberis, Primula
- Shrubs: Cornus, Hebe, Pieris, Ribes, Skimmia, Blueberry
- Trees: Cercis, Malus, Prunus (Cherry Tree) Pyrus, Salix
- Annuals: Antirrhinum, Calendula, Cosmos, Fuchsia
- Bulbs: Allium
- Climbers: Clematis, Convulvulus, Pyracantha, Passion Flower
- Perennials: Achillea, Alcea (Hollyhock) Armeria, Campanula, Centaurea, Clarkia, Cynara, Dahlia, Delphinium, Digitalis, Echinacea, Echinops, Erigeron, Sunflower, Iberis, Lathyrus, Leucanthemum, Liatris, Lysimachia, Nepeta, Peony, Perovskia, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Scabious, Verbena
- Shrubs: Buddleja, Brachyglottis, Caryopteris, Hebe, Hydrangea, Kalmia, Lavender, Olearia, Potentilla, Rose
- Trees: Crataegus
- Annuals: Pot Mums
- Climbers: Clematis
- Perennials: Anemone, Aster, Campanula, Dahlia, Salvia
- Shrubs: Ceratostigma, Fatsia
- Trees: Arbutus