Bees are one of the most important and busy insects in the countryside as they pollinate so many plants. It has been estimated that they pollinate around 90% of all wild plants, which would fail to thrive and ultimately die out without them.
Bee gardens are designed to have a large variety of flowers blooming at one time over a long season. Just as we need to eat a varied diet for health, bees need a variety of pollen and nectar as well.
Bees are active as soon as the weather warms and until freezing temperatures cause flowers to cease. They need pollen and nectar during their entire life cycle, so bee gardens are designed to have continuously blooming flowers from early spring to as late as possible.
Some flowers are more attractive to bees than others, and there are a number of factors that will influence the bee’s choice such as color, flower shape and position of the plant. Bees are unable to see the color red, which just appears as black to them. Blue, white, yellow and purple flowers are the ones that attract the bees. Woundwort, Loosestrife, Thyme, Marjoram, Lavender and Catmint are all very popular plants for bees.
Some flowers are particularly suited for pollination by bumblebees. Modified lower petals serve as sturdy landing pads.
Bees have good noses, and the flowers they pollinate usually have a delicate, sweet scent.
- Bugle (Ajuga reptans) commonly known as blue bugle, bugleherb, bugleweed, carpetweed, carpet bugleweed, common bugle
- Buttercup (Ranunculus)
- Catmint (Nepeta)
- Cherry blossom (Prunus)
- Crab apple (Malus)
- Daffodil (Narcissus)
- Forget-me-not (Myosotis)
- Goat willow catkins (Salix caprea)
- Hawthorn (Crataegus)
- Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) is a valuable spring-blooming nectar plant for hummingbirds and bees
- Pulmonaria (Pulmonaria officinalis) commonly known as common names lungwort, common lungwort or Our Lady’s milk drops
- Red currant (Ribes sanguineum)
- Rhododendron (Rhododendron)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima)
- Speedwell (Veronica)
- Spotted Loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata)
- Viburnum “Common Snowball” (Viburnum)
- Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica)
- Woundwort (Stachys) commonly known as hedgenettle, heal-all, self-heal,betony, and lamb’s ears