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Bee-friendly Flowers

Bees need our help!

Many different wild bees are in decline; bumblebees and solitary bees (those that don’t live in colonies) in particular could do with our assistance.

So, if you are selling outdoor plants this summer, you can help to increase and maintain our precious bee population by selling bee-friendly plants.

The RHS have started a campaign aimed at helping to ‘fuel a million bumble bee miles’, urging us to plant up a bee-friendly container. They calculate that if 50,000 such containers were planted bumblebees would have enough fuel stations to allow them to travel the necessary miles to collect pollen.

Best Flowering Plants for Bees

Choose flowers where the pollen is easy to access, such as leucanthemum, astrantia, cornflower, clematis, allium, scabious and echinacea, avoiding those with double or multi-petaled flowers.

If you choose to sell planters already made up, the RHS suggest that a combination of antirrhinum, nasturtium and cosmos will fuel 14-22 BBM (bumblebee miles) per day.

Saying it with Flowers

Chelsea Flower Show used their Floral Windows competition this year to draw attention to the sharp decline in insect pollinators. Jane Belcher won Gold and Best in Show with her ‘The Taste of Nature’ design on the theme of pollination, using plants and flowers that give distinct flavours to honey to highlight the decline of bees.

Theresa Wedderburn of Branch-Out MK showed how bees see, with a traditional ‘hedge’-style arrangement of home-grown, seasonal blooms, with one half lit with standard light and the other by ultraviolet ‘black’ lighting which is how bees see their way to the flowers they pollinate.

Did you know:

  • The buff-tailed bumblebee travels anywhere between 14 – 40 miles per day, burning 14 calories a mile.

  • Purple, yellow and orange flowers attract bees more than other colours.

  • The solitary bee makes up 90% of the bee species found in Britain.

  • Providing shallow drinking bowls, or fill a deeper bowl with stones so they have somewhere to perch.

  • You can encourage bees to your garden by growing a wide range of plants.

  • You should avoid using any garden pesticides.

  • Providing nesting sites will support your local bee population.


Su Whale



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