A garden designed for bees and butterflies

A magnet for bees and butterflies, this garden has long-lasting colour.

Credit: Stuart McCall

A magnet for bees and butterflies, this garden has long-lasting colour and interest from late spring right through fall

“Bees are very attracted to members of the daisy family. In our plan, that includes the Anthemis, Aster, Echinacea and Gaillardia. Some say bees appreciate the button centres to sit on while feeding!” says garden designer Kelly Schroeder of Heritage Perennials.

Bee-friendly Blooms

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’
and Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage) are also bee-friendly, while Liatris is known to bring on the butterflies.

Anthemis and Gaillardia in cheery shades of yellow, orange and red provide a flourish of colour in June. If they are deadheaded, these plants will bloom until September or October.

The bed is anchored with the 90-cm (3ft.) Aster ericoides ‘Erlkönig,’ flanked on both sides by Panicum ‘Heavy Metal,’ creating a backdrop with textural interest. The deep-purple spikes of Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ define the bed on one side, while the dark magenta blooms of Echinacea purpurea ‘Rubinstern’ provide balance on the opposite side.

Garden colours

In the front of the bed, Gaillardia ‘Monarch,’ Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and Anthemis ‘Wargrave’ provide a range of yellows, oranges and reds throughout the season. This bed is probably at its best in August and September when all the plants are in bloom. Enjoy it while you can – the planting is deciduous and the space will be empty during the winter months.

All the plants in this design require good light exposure and can handle the hot midday sun. They are also quite drought tolerant and fairly pest free, keeping maintenance simple.

Other bee and butterfly enticements you might wish to include in your garden include the cabbage family (Alyssum, Arabis, Aubrieta, Erysimum, Hesperis and Iberis), the mint family (Agastache, Ajuga, Calamintha, Lamium, Monarda, lavender and mint), the pea family (Baptisia, Lathyrus, Lotus, Lupinus and Trifolium) and the rose family (Alchemilla, Fragaria, Potentilla and Sanguisorba).