Gardening: How to encourage bees and butterflies

Now that the first of the spring bulbs have started to peep through, my thoughts have turned to planning what to do with the garden this year. We’ve worked hard over the last five years on our derelict garden and we’ve built raised beds, laid a lawn, tended neglected trees and planted it up almost from scratch. We’ve had a “let it grow” policy the last few years, waiting for some of the small shrubs we’ve planted to fill out so we could get a better feel for what we wanted, and what we want is more colour and to do more to attract bees and butterflies.

I know from our visits to a lavender farm in Devon that bees and butterflies can’t get enough of the purple stuff, I love it too especially when planted in lavender hedges it looks so effective. It does need a gentle pruning every year though. When it comes to garden design I’m no expert, but I think blocks of colour look great and I don’t like to see bare soil, it seems such a waste.

I’m not very good with planting seeds, so I prefer to buy small plug plants and pot them on into my little greenhouse and then plant them out. Not wanting to let the grass grow under my feet (excuse the pun) I’ve already ordered my plug plants for this year, focussing on what I think will look good and what should attract the bees and butterflies to my little patch. I have plans to order…

Spring flowering…
⇒ Primroses
⇒ Bluebells
⇒ Foxgloves

Summer flowering…
⇒ Lavender
⇒ Marigolds
⇒ Dahlias
⇒ Geraniums

Autumn flowering…
⇒ Asters
⇒ Sunflowers
⇒ Sedums

We already have some of these in the garden, I love sedums for autumn colour and the birds seem to like them too. We’ve always been cautious foxgloves given their poisonous reputation, but the boy is beyond the plant eating stage, we have no pets to worry about and they are very beautiful.

bees and butterflies

Given the struggles that bees are facing these days, I’m very happy to do what I can to help them survive and thrive and it’s always a pleasure to see butterflies fluttering into the garden and appreciating my planting scheme. What will you be planting this year to make your garden bee friendly?

= In collaboration with Homify =

3 responses to “Gardening: How to encourage bees and butterflies

  1. hi
    your garden sounds lovely – sweetpeas are good for bees too – I grow mine from small plants too by the front door – smell wonderful.
    Buddleia shrubs are also good too (comes in many more colours than the lilac ones on scrub-land) – I’ve got a dark purple one – you can get dwarf varieties if your garden is small.
    . Lilac is good too but needs to be in a pot unless you’ve got acid soil.
    love bec xx

    • Oh I adore sweetpeas, they are my favourite flowers of all, we always have some growing up the sunny side of the shed. We had buddleia in our old garden but it grew far too big, didn’t know you could get dwarf varieties, I’ll look out for them. Thank you for your top tips 🙂

      • you’re welcome 🙂 – you can get dwarf sweetpeas too. you can also prune buddleia in the Autumn 0 I cut mine back to about 2 foot each autumn. Another good plant for bees is Lavartera (mallow is its common name) pink or white flowers – that’s another one which can be hacked right back to 6inches from the ground (grows about 10 foot each summer and long flowering season)

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