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27/07/2013 at 19:48

I didn't know until very recently that not all flowers are

good for pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.

Now that I do though, I would be very grateful if you could

please advise me which are the best wildflowers to grow

to help the bees etc.  Thank you!

27/07/2013 at 19:51

Hi Nutcutlet and Jim,

This is WAF registered under another name as I didn't get any response

to my plea for missing toolbar etc. to be replaced!  Now I have all the

toolbar - so here goes!  Please reply when you see this, so that I know

you recognise me!  Bit drastic I know, but I didn't know what else to do! 

27/07/2013 at 20:29

Well at the moment, my teasels are covered in Bumble bees (three different varieties)

They also like the leeks that have gone to seed, and the lavender.

Earlier on in the year they were on the foxgloves a lot. Also linaria purpurea.

27/07/2013 at 20:29

Borage & phacelia are both good for honeybees & bumbles.

27/07/2013 at 20:30

They like comfrey flowers as well, but once you've got comfrey you can never get rid of it.

27/07/2013 at 20:35

Many thanks folks!  The only one I have from all those you've mentioned

is the lavender, so lots to keep in mind for next year!

27/07/2013 at 20:38

that's lateral thinking flowersforbees, I'm full of admiration.

Viper's Bugloss is a bit of a star and marjoram is just starting, (but not wild).

clovers, red and white dead nettle. I'm not fussy about wild as long as they do the job. so Eryngium giganteum is very busy at the moment. I'll have a wander round tomorrow and see what's attracting them at the moment.

Pulmonaria is excellent early on and I think one of the species is native, I grow P. rubra because it's so early.

now you've got a tool bar do we get pics?

27/07/2013 at 20:44

Borage is very good.  You can use the new leaves as a cucumber substitute (in fact it was used in Pimms before people used cucumber) and the blue flowers are edible too.  I put them in ice cubes and they look brill in drinks - a real talking point.

27/07/2013 at 20:46
27/07/2013 at 20:51

i have buddlia,borage, lavender, russian comfrey,plenty to attract bees,but i have not seen a single butterfly all year up to now[except cabbage whites]wonder if there is anything i can add to encourage them?

 

27/07/2013 at 20:53
Nutcutlet - Thanks for everything - I have just PMd you - figured that out o.k.
with the toolbar, but I still can't get the picture I want to transfer to the
message!! The little square box appears in my message box and the
picture appears uploaded, but I can't get it to transfer no matter what I do!
will keep trying!
27/07/2013 at 20:55
Thank you to all of you who have replied to my question about
the best flowers for bees - I will keep them all in mind for next
year and let you know how I go on with them. Thank you for the
links you have given me Farmergeddun - will try those too!
27/07/2013 at 21:03

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/28268.jpg?width=270&height=350&mode=max

 just to show you what's happening nutcutlet - no photo - yet I've

done everything right I'm sure!  Any ideas??!!

27/07/2013 at 21:08

I don't believe it!   There was nothing in the box when I submitted it

then when I scrolled down to make sure my message to you had gone -

there it was!!  It's only a small patch and there are still lots of bald patches,

but next year hopefully it will be much bigger and better.  I collected 

seeds from a lovely white campian yesterday in a country lane and I'm hoping

I can mix those with the red campians.  Lots of this is thanks to you Nutcutlet

and I'm so grateful to you!

27/07/2013 at 21:45

Can't stop now!  Have to see if it works again!  Here (I hope!) is another

picture taken when I first started with my wf garden.  You can just make out

the two oxeye daisies which were the only plants I managed to grow from

seed!  The red campian and the small clump of cornflowers were from plugs

I bought from a garden centre.  The bald patch is where the flowers eventually

grew from seed I directly sowed into the ground and which I intend to do from

now on.  They are the ones in the first picture I sent and I'm really thrilled

with them after my first disasters!!  Hope you like them!

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/28276.jpg?width=270&height=350&mode=max

 first picture of wildflower garden I took.  Shows the two oxeye daisies which

were the only plants I managed to grow from seed.  The red campians and

small patch of cornflowers were from plugs!

27/07/2013 at 21:48

My bee balm ( monarda) is smothered in bees this year. I have grown echinecea this year for the first time and In the morning it is smothered in bees sleeping on it ( or drunk on it) I think!!!!

27/07/2013 at 21:54
  • 1  Cosmos (HHA) is an annual flower easily raised from seed. It’s also one of  the very best for the bee. Grow it in groups, making the collection of pollen  easier for the bees, who won’t have to fly as far to find their food. Cosmos  grows 2-5ft tall, the majority reaching about 2ft. It’s from Mexico, so a half  hardy annual. Plant out after all danger of frost has passed, and deadhead to  keep them flowering continuously through the summer. These open, flat flowers  will delight you as well as giving the bees a feast.
  • 2  Aster (HHA) ‘Compostion’ or Michaelmass Daisies. Many modern  hybrids have little or no pollen. easy to grow, colorful and late summer to  autumn flowering, they provide food late in the season. Important if honeybees  are to be well fed to get through the winter months.
  • 3  Sunflowers (HA) are a great choice, available in many heights and colours  to suit your garden space. Choose yellow or orange over red, which bees don’t  like. Varieties exist now for the allergic gardener, containing no pollen.  Obviously avoid these when wishing to attract bees.
  • 4  Calendulas or marigolds (HA) are great for bees, especially the original  single flowered pot marigold. Dead head regularly for a longer  flowering period.
  • 5  Primulas. (HP) The native primrose, (primula vulgaris), primulas  of all kinds, even the drumstick ones are great early food for bees.  Cowslips (primula veris) are also good members of this extensive family  of perennial plants.
  • 6  Rudbekia (HHA) are an extensive group of cone flowers from the aster  family. A wide variety of heights, mostly available in yellows and oranges, sure  to brighten your border and feed bees. There are also a few hardy perennial  ones, of which ‘Goldsturn’ is my personal favourite. All are easy to  grow from seed.
  • 7  Scabious or cornflowers (HA), another aster family member, are mostly blue  flowered and bees adore them. Dead-headed regularly, they’ll flower all summer  long.
  • 8  Lavender (HHS) There are plenty of lavenders to choose from, all needing  plenty of sun and well drained soil, but they’ll reward you with plenty of  fragrant flowers for cutting and drying. Just watch them get smothered in bees  when they come into flower.
  • 9  Bluebells (bulb) Another early food supply. Just a note of caution for UK  growers. The native English bluebell in now under threat from the  Spanish bluebell, which outcompetes and crosses with it. So please ensure you  are planting the native bluebell to ensure you don’t endanger a bluebell  woodland near you.
  • 10  Hellebores (HP) The Christmas rose! A lovely flower to have in  your garden from late winter to early spring, this plant will tolerate some  shade and moist conditions, though not wet. When bees emerge from hibernation  they need food fast. This one gives them a snack when there’s little else  around.
  • 11  Clematis (Perennial climber) The majority of clematis will provide pollen,  and I’ve watched bees happily moving from flower to flower gathering their crop.  Always plant clematis deeper than they were in the container, as this gives more  protection against cleamits wilt. These plants are hungry and thirsty, so add  good compost to the planting hole. They also like their roots in the cool and  heads in the sun, so once planted I place either a thick mulch or a pile of  stones or gravel around their roots, keeping them cool and conserving  moistur
27/07/2013 at 21:56
  • 11  Clematis (Perennial climber) The majority of clematis will provide pollen,  and I’ve watched bees happily moving from flower to flower gathering their crop.  Always plant clematis deeper than they were in the container, as this gives more  protection against cleamits wilt. These plants are hungry and thirsty, so add  good compost to the planting hole. They also like their roots in the cool and  heads in the sun, so once planted I place either a thick mulch or a pile of  stones or gravel around their roots, keeping them cool and conserving  moisture.
  • 12  Crocus (bulb) Early flowering, plenty to choose from, and planted in the  autumn to flower year after year. These are great value and cheer me up as well  as the bees!
  • 13  Mint (HP), especially water mint, is loved by bees. It’s great in  your cooking, too. Easy to grow, it can be a bit of a thug, so either grow it in  a container or prevent its escape around the garden by burying a bucket (with  holes in the bottom for drainage) and plant your mint into that.
  • 14  Rosemary (HHS) A mediterranean herb, rosemary likes well drained soild and  full sun. It flowers around April/May. A great culinary herb, bees will take  advantage of the pollen as long as you prune it correctly. This is best done  straight after flowering, as most of the flowers will appear on new wood. Don’t  prune rosemary back to old, bare wood as these are not likely to regrow.  Depending on where you live and soil conditions, rosemary can be short lived, so  take some cuttings each year so you can replace the old plant should it dsie or  become too leggy.
  • 15  Thyme (H to HHS)) There are now quite a few varieties available, tasting  slightly different to each other eg lemon thyme. However, I’ve noticed that the  wild thyme (thymus serpyllum) attracts a lot of bee visitors and tends  to flower more profusely. But they are all worth growing. Give them the same  growing conditions as rosemary and lavender.
  • 16  Hebe (HH-HS) This extensive group of shrubs have wonderful flowers for  bees. Plenty of pollen, all on one flower and plenty of flowers on one shrub.  They vary in height, are mosly blue or pink and tolerate most soils. They  dislike too much wet, so a well drained soil is best. Water well, though, until  established.
  • 17  Borage, the bee herb. (HA) Borage is blue flowered, simple to grow and in  fact one type grows wild in the UK, though originally from Syria. Easy, prolific  and the bees love it.
  • 18  Echinacea, the cone flower. (HP) Now available in a variety of colours, all  of which will attract bees. Echinacea Tennesseensis will attract birds,  bees and butterflies.
  • 19  Mignotette. There are HA, HHA and Perennial members of this family. They  are sweetly scented and will attract and feed your bees, especially Reseda  lutea.
  • 20  Thrift, or Sea Pink (HP) is a great plant for a rock garden, trough or  wall. Holding its bright pink flowers well above the grass-like foliage, it will  cheer your garden and make the bees come back for more! Give it well drained  condiitons and lots of sun.
  • 21  Sedums are also excellent plants for rock gardens and walls. There are many  to choose from, but avoid Sedum Spectabilis Autumn Joy if you’re planting for  bees. Biting stonecrop and English stonecrop (sedums acre and  anglicum). are natives, and great for bees.
  • 22  Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) (HB) are fantastic flowers for bees. An  old cottage garden favourite, bees are attrac
27/07/2013 at 21:57
  • 22  Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) (HB) are fantastic flowers for bees. An  old cottage garden favourite, bees are attracted to the pink or white flowers  and we love the perfume! They are members of the dianthus family, as are Pinks and Carnations, all of which are good for the bees.
  • 23  Monarda (Bergamot) (HP) This is the herb that flavours Earl Grey  tea, but the bees love its flowers for pollen and nectar. Its folk name in  the Uk is bee balm. It likes a moist but not wet soil and can cope with a bit of  shade. Share it with the bees! Bergamot tea is a herbal treat in itself. Just  pour boiling water on the leaves and allow about ten minutes before  drinking.
  • 24  Cornflower (HA) Easy to grow, cheap and cheerful, cornflowers are another  cottage garden favourite. Thier blue flowers act like a bee magnet. Grow in as  large a group as you have the space for. This makes it easier for the bees to  spot them and saves them flying around more than necessary. It’s easy to save  seed from one year to the next, too.
  • 25  Poppies (HA-HP) All poppies are attractive to bees, and are laden with  pollen in nice open flowers. Very easy to grow, especially the annual kinds, and  easy to save seeds to sow next year. Enjoy their delicate petals while your bees  enjoy a feast.
  • 26  Verbena Bonariensis (HP) a tall, delicate looking perennial with  purple/mauve flowers that add a tropical feel to your borders. This is easy to  grow from seed and sown early enough will flower in its first year. One not to  do without!
  • 27  Snapdragons (Antirrhinum) (HHA) Plenty of choice in heights and colours.  Have you ever watched a bee enter and leave a snapdragon? Their weight pulls the  lower part of the petal down so they can get inside for their food, and you can  hear them buzzing while they are in there. Lovely to watch.
  • 28  Ageratum (HHA) Easy to grow, with heads of blue flowers and another member  of the compositae family, so lots of food on one flower head. This is one of my  favorite annuals in the garden. Just don’t plant out until all danger of frost  has passed and dead head for more flowers.
  • 29  Echinops (globe thistle) (HP) This lovely blue thistle is very ornamental,  even when not in flower, standing about 36″ tall. Bees and butterflies love the  flowers which provide plenty of nectar. Easy to grow from seed and will come  back year after year.
  • 30  Digitalis (foxglove) (HB) Foxgloves make great food for bees. As they are  poisonous, protect children from them and handle wearing gloves. As long as  these precautions are taken these are wonderful plants for the garden and the  bees. A woodland plant, they’re useful for a shady spot.
27/07/2013 at 22:10

Sinevegas you are a star!  You've certainly done your research and I

will try everything to help the bees and butterflies.  Re the cosmos - I grew lots of

cosmos plants from seeds (not for my wildflower garden - just for my back

garden) but although the plants look lovely and healthy I only have one flower

(a deep reddish purple) and two other buds on the same plant.  Any idea why?

1 to 20 of 135 messages