The importance of supporting and protecting bees has become increasingly evident in the past few years. We only have around 276 bee species in the UK – out of around 16,000 worldwide – and we have lost 13 species altogether, while another 35 are currently at risk.
In his new book Create Your Own Nature Garden, Joe Swift provides advice on growing a garden that preserves wildlife, from birds to bees and other insects. In his own words, “when it comes to helping bees out, every garden, allotment, roof terrace, pot, container, window box and unmanicured lawn counts”. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a big garden; you can still support bees and other pollinators if you choose the right plants for your space.
If you’re looking to grow some bee-friendly plants, you’re in luck: gardening for pollinators is easy, and it will make your garden beautiful too! In this article, we will look at some spring and summer nectar and pollen-rich plants to grow in your garden.
If you have enough room in your garden, why not consider growing some bee-friendly trees? Apple trees are a great option since they are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow. Make sure you prune your tree each year to ensure it blooms! Other bee-friendly trees are cherries, hawthorn, and holly.
2. Shrubs and climbers
Bees and pollinators love open flowers with plenty of nectar such as jasmine – it smells beautiful as well! Another reason we love this climber is because it is evergreen, meaning it will keep its leaves all year round, providing a beautiful backdrop to any garden. Make sure you grow it near a fence or wall in moist but well-drained soil – many jasmine varieties will cope with shade, but they prefer sunny spots.
Other fabulous options are lavender, cotoneaster, lilac, clematis, honeysuckle, and roses.
Perennial plants are the ones that flower every year – the stems will die over winter, but the roots won’t, meaning the flowers will be back come spring. Joe Swift recommends Angelica, oregano, nepeta, foxgloves, hollyhocks, viper’s-bugloss, ornamental thistles, ajuga, geum, campanula, shasta daisy and fennel, but there are many more!
Annual plants will complete their lifecycle within a single growing season – after they flower, the whole plant will die (including the roots), leaving just the seeds behind. Sunflowers, poppy and cosmos are just some options of annual flowers.
Spring bulbs are planted in autumn, spend winter underground, and flower in spring. Pollinators love alliums and Nectaroscordum siculum.
In this practical guide, Joe Swift shows you how to support and protect our rich and varied wildlife habitats. Joe’s no-nonsense approach covers everything you need to know about doing your bit for wildlife. Learn how to manage soil and carefully select plants to create rich and varied habitats, from tall trees down to tiny, spring-flowering bulbs.