8 flowers to plant for a Bee-friendly garden
There are around 270 species of bee in the UK and each has a huge role to play in pollinating the country's plants, helping them to grow, breed and produce food. These pollination effects are believed to be worth £691 million to the UK’s food industry, but due to environmental damage including habitat loss and the use of pesticides, 17 species have already become regionally extinct in the east of the UK, with a further 25 species at risk.
These tiny flowers are often one of the first to push through the snow each year, and as spring arrives, are a fantastic source of food for bees during the colder months of the season. Honeybees mix the fresh pollen with honey to create bee bread which they then take back to the hive to feed the colony.
These dramatic flowers are a timeless classic and are a feast for bees. Sunflowers can grow to enormous heights and act like beacons for buzzing bees who can’t get enough of their nectar and pollen. What’s more, once the flower is finished blooming you can save the seeds for planting later or add some to your dinner.
Zinnias are a honeybee’s favourite food. Low to the ground and often found with an abundance of colourful buds, these flowers are sure to attract bees to your garden. Blooming in the late summer and early autumn, Zinnias will add colour to your garden in the late season and keep the bees returning for months.
We’re not the only creatures who enjoy the vibrant purple colour and relaxing scent of lavender - bees have been found to love it too. Create a window box display centred around lavender to attract pollinators and as a bonus you’ll enjoy the refreshing scent of lavender every time you open the window. This hearty plant should return to flower each year and is incredibly low maintenance.
Before it ends up on supermarket shelves, Rosemary sprouts small purple blooms which bees can’t get enough of. This delicious smelling plant and herb makes a great addition to window boxes, and flowers all year round.
Offering a huge landing pad, these flowers attract bees in their dozens and unlike many flowers, produce large quantities of nectar throughout the day. The bright colours are an extra attraction for our buzzing friends and will keep your garden looking vibrant. These plants can survive very cold winters making them the ideal bee-magnet for a British garden.
The striking purple and white colouring of Iris's helps them stand out against foliage and attract bees. They can flourish in shallow soil and even in light shade, making them ideal balcony plants and well suited to gardens that have limited hours of sunlight, such as in built up areas.
Apple Blossom is the favourite flower of queen bees, the bees responsible for laying eggs and keeping the population thriving. Enjoy the spring months trying to spot the royal visitor as she stops for her lunch.
Through such simple swaps, wild bee populations can grow and biodiversity can grow. But as our world continues to change, some of the best changes that can be made are simply through supporting brands such as Beefayre who donate to some amazing charities.