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Inula hookeri is a great one for bumblebees and I find bees of all sorts love forget-me-nots. If, like me, you want a good harvest of beans you have to consider they need pollination which means lots of food plants. I respect so-called weeds for what they are - plants superbly adapted to our climate - which puts a different light on them in the garden. Lots of them have great uses for salads or tisanes and should not be disparaged. Try looking at your weeds with a magnifying glass and see them in a different perspective. A garden should not be just plants but insects and birds and mammals galore.
Green Alkanet. I have this plant in various places around my garden, in the sun, in the shade, just about everywhere. I allow this plant to flourish because the bees like this plant, particularly the Common Carder bee. I have bought two wild plants this Spring, Field Scabious and Wild Marjoram, for the bees and the butterflies. My local garden centre had a good selection of wild plants for sale a few weeks ago, and I went to this garden centre a week ago and noticed nearly all their wild plant are gone, which is good because it means there are people who are now appreciating the wild as well as the cultivated.
You can see what plants the bees are working on by the colour of the pollen on their legs - watch carefully at to see the pollen coming in - mainly yellow at the moment but Horse Chestnut is just coming into flower and that is a deep red colour.


You might think about some early or late flowering plants to reduce the risk of starvation over the winter or in the early Spring. There are a number of non native trees which are helpful, and among shrubs we suggest Mahonia and Sweet Box - both easy to grow and forgiving of shade. I'd also recommend Crocuses and Hellebores to help out early on, and Sedum for late forage before the Ivy flowers.
You are right Habitataid, I have the Mahonia and I have seen bees on the flowers of this plant in November!
I'm sure I read somwhere about 10 years ago that bees love blue & purple plants - that it's the colour they see best. So over the years have developed a garden mainly planted with those colours. Don't know whether or not it's true, but I have a 20ft tall Sussex flint wall which in May is covered with purple campanula which the bees love - though there were noticeably less last year than in other years. Hopefully this year will be better?
Some great plant suggestions - mahonia is very popular with winter buff-tailed bumblebee colonies in London. I've opted for winter-flowering clematis 'Freckles' in my tiny garden though. I'm aiming to have something in flower every day of the year for the bees (and for me!). It's a challenge in my shady garden, but I'm hoping sedums, verbena bonariensis, asters and ivy will provide nectar in autumn, while snowdrops, heathers and crocus will come in after the clematis has gone over. Kate
I've found that oregano is a magnet for bees the plants are always smothered during summer
I have noticed that the bees like our hardy standard fushia - manily the bumble bees that go for it. We also have a lot of clover in the lawn and they love that when it flowers.
No honeybees yet, sadly, but loads of bumbles, they love the Pulmonaria flowers just now.
I'm planning to replace a hedge of half dead leylandii! What hedging plants/trees would be bee friendly. Any suggestions would be very welcome. Thanks
What about Rosa rugosa height7ft spread4ft. A sturdy shrub with prickly hairy branches deep pink,heavily scented flowers up to 3" across appear in June and intermittently untill autumn then orange and red hips in early Autumn.


I just purchased a new floral display unit that I think I'll use to plant with species that attract bees. Its called The Garden Flower Wheel and basically is a handcrafted wooden cart wheel that comes as an fixed or rotating unit. My version carries eight pivoting 15cm plant pots so I can choose eight plant varieties. Its a very good alternative to a hanging basket. My one is postioned on a fence post near my shed.
As a member of Rotary International we are trying to come up with a idea for an ECO project to involve kids and the community next year. We are very keen to use the idea of planting an are that can be turned into it's very own eco system, planting plants that are good for each other and attract a variety of insects and bees and birds. Are there are sources that you can suggest that would provide this information - we are based in Angus on the NE of Scotland coast. Thanks
Two bushes to recommend, both of which are currently in flower. Cotoneaster bullatus (a lax, open bush/small tree)with very insignificant flowers but they are heaving with bees! Also, Buddleia globosa (orange, globular flowers which smell of honey)is also smothered with bees. They are mainly bumble varieties but I have seen a few honey bees today.
Can anyone explain why my lovely peony bush has produced a great number of buds this year, but not one of them has blossomed? I cut some to put in a vase hoping it might help, but they are still tightly packed. The bush is about 6 years old, having replaced another of more than 25 years of age, which had stopped producing buds at all. Any solutions?
Hi, I'm a new gardener, only just got a flat with a garden and got a hanging basket for my Birthday. Would like to plant something bee and butterfly friendly in it this month. Any suggestions?