When I started planning my new borders I wanted to make them wildlife/bee friendly as well. There is a great variety available both in seed and plant form and nearly all of the major online suppliers mark their products so you will be able to spot them when you look and find out if they are suitable for your soil etc. A few of the ones that I like flower wise and perennial wise are:
If you have room, Abertawescott, plant a few buddleias ( I think they're now called 'buddlja' in some catalogues ) - it's not known as the 'Butterfly Bush' for nothing! Lots to choose from, easy shrubs, do well in full sun or partial shade. Bees seem to prefer purple shades, and so do butterflies!
Verbena bonariensis - also mauve/purple - again, bees and butterflies love these. It's not hardy for me in the NE, but may be further south. Tall and airy, lovely plant.
Lavender, yes, as Grannys Bonnet recommends above. And the aquilegias ( easy from seed, even now, although they may not flower till next year - perennial, lovely ). Foxgloves, yes, lupins, yes, especially for bees.
Good old snapdragon - Antirrhinum - bees adore these! Annuals but smashing, old-fashioned plant in loads of colours!
There are so many bee and butterfly-friendly plants, you're spoiled for choice!
Here's a foxglove in my garden a few years back....with Friend!
I keep honeybees and try and plant a succession of things so that they have food sources from early spring onwards. Snowdrop and aconites are both great early plants .... and will disappear underground by late spring leaving a space for something else to follow.
Phacelia tanacetifolia, poppies and Limnanthes douglasii(also known as poached egg plants) are all easy from seed and will seed about for future years. Borage is also very popular with bees and butterflies.
Knautia macedonica" melton pastels" and Cephalaria gigantea are loved by bees.
Jasmine or honeysuckle "Graham Thomas" would be good on the trellis, as would any wisteria or Single flowered clematis.
Any umbellifer is good for hoverflys, bronze fennel is easy from seed, Anthiscus sylvestris "Ravenswing" adds a change of colour. Ammi Majus sown late this year will form big early flowering plants for next year.
In addition to what has already been mentioned, alliums particularly Christophii, garlic chives, ordinary chives and hollandicum. Also catmint, the thymes, and most other herbs. Good shrubs are escallonia, teucrium fruticans, some caenothus', honeysuckle and loads more.
A good tip is to visit nurseries and garden centres on warm sunny days and see what plants pollinating insects are visiting. Also in general, go for single flowers and avoid the doubles as maby insects can't find their way in.
hello, I've bought quite a few nice plants in Morrison's and it usually tells you on the lables that they are good for insects/bees/butterflies. also wyvale put good info on their plants/labels as well. don't forget when you plant your shrubs, to keep them well - watered for the first year to help them establish a good root run. have a look on the RHS website which gives lots of information on this subject.
Poached egg plants are definitely a winner in my book. So far this year the bees have gone nuts for my alliums, the Lupins, snapdragon (I was surprised) my spring flowering hebe, foxgloves, blueberries, violas and have just started sniffing round my lilies
Cranesbills (hardy geraniums) and nepeta. They are covered in bees at the moment (or they would be if it wasn't raining). I'm suffering a touch of deja vu here as I am sure I typed the same thing last year.
I'm a novice too but when I was looking to attract bees I had the most success with a load of giant catmint. It seemed to always be flowering and always full off bees.
I've tried loads of advertised bee friendly plants with little interest from bees.
As for butterflies, someone helpfully told me if you want loads of butterflies you don't just need to feed them but provide them with plants hey like to lay their eggs on and for the caterpillars to eat. Do some research into which butterflies you can hope to see and where they like to lay their eggs. I was told that nettles are a good start xx
I have a large-ish garden and have made a special effort to design with butterfly and bee-friendly plants where possible. Of all of the plants in my garden, the cotoneaster is by far the best when it comes to attracting bees. The whole thing is literally crawling with bees between May and July. My butterfly bush is best for butterflies. It deserves it's name.