Green Fingers I Wish

Friday, August 24, 2007

Attracting bees to your garden

Wherever you live in the UK, you should be able to attract at least six bumblebee species to your garden, and perhaps as many as ten.

Some of our rarer bees tend not to visit exotic garden flowers, preferring native British wildflowers. These are easy to grow and thrive in the average garden being hardy and much more resistant to slugs and mildew than other garden flowers. For example Viper’s bugloss, Echium vulgare, makes a magnificent plant for a herbaceous border, with spikes of vivid blue flowers up to 60cm (2ft) tall. And it will attract a cloud of bumblebees in high summer.

Bumblebee species differ in the length of their tongues, and, as a result, prefer different flowers. For example the longest tongued species, Bombus hortorum, loves deep flowers such as honeysuckle, foxglove and aquilegia. Create a garden with a selection of garden flowers and wildflowers that bumblebees love, and that caters for both long and short-tongued species. If you have room for even one or two of these they will attract many bees. Most of these plants will also attract a range of other interesting insects to the garden, including butterflies and honeybees.


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