Airy and graceful, Verbena bonariensis is a great flower to attract butterflies to the garden.
Tag: bee food
The lavender is at its peak right now. One of my favourite flowers and loved by the bees as well! It is easy to grow in a sunny border or container. I always like to dry some of the flowers for winter flower arrangements indoors. Just tie together some of the flower spikes and hang upside down until dry.
This Giant Scotch Thistle stands majestically in the border at around nine feet tall and has just started to flower, which the bees will go made for! It is a biennial flower which will self seed readily. When I see the seedlings pop up I move them to where I want them to flower, usually at the back of a border where they are not going to attack passers-by (the leaves are very prickly!)
This is an easy to grow perennial flower for a sunny aspect, which flowers from early summer to well into the autumn. The clumps of Knautia (pronounced ‘naughtier’) do get large and sprawl about, so give them plenty of room. The crimson pompom flowers are a big hit with bees and butterflies and the seed heads are loved by the birds. It self-seeds prolifically and I often replace the large clumps with younger specimens. It can be affected by powdery mildew, however I simply cut back the stems and allow to re-grow.
Eryngium giganteum, also known as Giant Sea Holly, is a dramatic addition to the flower border. Its flower heads are surrounded by a rosette of very spiny silvery-grey bracts, which seem to glow in the evening light. As with most grey foliage plants, it likes a sunny situation. Once in flower, the bees go mad for it! It is a short-lived perennial but a good self-seeder.
This variety is named after an Edwardian plantswoman and gardener Miss Ellen Willmott, who allegedly used to sprinkle the seeds of this, her favourite plant, in other people’s gardens!
This flower looks good in dried flower arrangements.
Aquilegias are an easy to grow perennial flower, which the bees love. A popular cottage garden plant, its bonnet shaped flowers give them the common name Granny’s Bonnet. I used to wonder why the aquilegia flower spurs had holes in them and then I discovered that the bees are using a shortcut to get at the nectar, by piercing the spur instead of using the ‘front entrance’ of the flower. Clever little bees!
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your self-sown aquilegia plants.
Delphiniums are hardy perennials and very easy to grow. The young shoots may need protection from slugs and staking the plants before they start flowering is essential as they get incredibly heavy and easily snap off in the wind. This vivid blue delphinium has no trouble attracting the bees in my garden!
If you are looking for plants to attract bees, then the Honeywort is a must-have flower for the garden. The sumptuous purple of Cerinthe Major makes it look so exotic and delicate, but it really is as tough as old boots. You can buy these plants in the garden centre where they will cost you a small fortune, but they are really easy to raise from seed. They happily reproduce themselves in the garden and the self-sown plants are much stronger than the ones sown in pots and mollycoddled.