Now’s the time to get your garden ready to welcome bees. Here are the Bee Friendly Trust’s top five flowers for attracting bees (and butterflies, hover flies and moths) to your plot – that aren’t lavender.
Best for gardening novices: Borage
Borage produces prolific blue flowers, which, after being visited by a bee, replenish their nectar within two minutes – no surprise then that this plant enjoys a steady stream of pollinators from June to October. Better still? Borage self-seeds so, once established, it will come back on its own, year after year.
Best for prolonged flowering: Perennial wallflower
In southern regions, the perennial wallflower – or Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’, known for its masses of single head, mauve flowers on tall spires, will bloom all year round, making it an excellent option for a bee-friendly garden.
Best for pots: Catmint
Mint is one of those herbs that can run rampant if left unattended, which is why it lends itself to being grown in pots. Drought-and-heat resilient catmint produces delicate blue flowers on silvery foliage that will attract pollinators throughout the summer.
Best for shady spots: Violas
They won’t be the main food source for your garden’s pollinator population but every little helps – particularly if you’re battling with a shady spot. Violas prefer partial shade, however, so if you’re after a plant that thrives in deep shade, opt for the toad lily, instead.
Best for multi-tasking: Rosemary
What’s not to love about this evergreen shrub. It can be grown in borders, window boxes or pots. It’s hardy and resilient to drought. It can be used to flavour drinks and culinary dishes. And its purply-blue flowers provide essential forage for bees from early spring.