Bee friendly

Learn what the best bee attractors are for your garden.

Credit: Jupiter Images

Notwithstanding the occasional sting, we all have reason to be thankful for the busy bee. Most bees have no interest in stinging – they are simply searching for pollen and nectar to feed themselves and their larvae.

When they burrow into flowers to get at the nectar, pollen rubs off on their bodies and is then deposited on other flowers – one of the more perfect plans that nature has devised for pollinating plants and ensuring that they continue to produce the fruits and vegetables we love.

Here’s a seasonal lineup of bee attractors to ponder while perusing your seed catalogues and browsing through your local nursery – try to include them in your plan.

Late winter: Doronicum (leopard’s bane), rhododendron, crocus, Ranunculus (buttercup), Erica/Calluna (all varieties, all year)

Mid spring: Pulmonaria, aubretia, Polemonium (Jacob’s ladder), Aquilegia (columbine), Oenothera (evening primrose), dandelion

Late spring: Lupines, Digitalis (foxglove), tulips, Eschscholzia (California poppy), Papaver (Oriental poppy)

Summer: Flowers of most herbs, especially fennel, mint, marjoram, thyme, lavender, borage and oregano (try ‘Barbara Tingey’); cosmos; sunflowers (with pollen, please!); echinacea; nepeta; and salvia