One of the thrills of growing your own flowers is not just the delight of nurturing them as they emerge, establish and flower but for me its watching the numerous types of butterflies and bees that they attract. Last summer I was fascinated by the cutting beds as they looked like busy motorway refuelling services for bees and butterflies. It was a hive of activity all through the day and they seems oblivious to me looking for flowers to snip or weeds to remove, they were only intent on their search for food.
So which flowers are great to attract these tiny little creatures?
Lavender is top of mind attracting both bees and butterflies, they love it! It's also easy to grow, hardy, scented, great for drying and adds a wonderful splash of colour to the garden in summer. I will be planting more again this year to line some paths.
Scabious and Cosmos a top pick for our cutting gardens, also have huge pulling power for these little chaps. They are long flowering, excellent bouquet fillers and go on through into the autumn, there is an abundance of colours to choose from and a staple in the Pod & Pip cutting garden.
Foxgloves are a favourite with bees as they have bell shaped flowers that are easily accessible and they can crawl into the flower in search of nectar. Penstemons and snapdragons also flowers attract bees because of the shape of their flower providing a 'landing strip'.
Blue borage and majoram are also popular with bees along with catmint. Purple and blue flowers are said to be most popular with bees as they are understood to see them more clearly. This piece of insight gives me a flashback to my university days as I remember having to do a summer project to determine which were the most popular coloured flowers that bees landed on, and yes from memory it was the blue and purples one, whites where generally less frequently visited. (Perfect summer project sat in the sunshine watching bees and flowers!)
Butterflies also love marjoram along with verbena, echinacea, phlox and sedum. And of course buddleia often referred to as the 'butterfly bush' is commonly thought of as shrub high on the hit list for butterflies.
So if you have some of these flowers growing in your garden they will act as a magnet to bees and butterflies and ensure a regular stopping point for them to refuel. So its not just about creating a wonderful flower garden its about providing environments to enjoy the fauna as well as the flora. Pause for a while and watch the non stop activity of the bees and butterflies in your garden its truly fascinating.