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Bee Pitstop



  • Apparently ordinary Ivy is really important for bees cos it has those knobbly flowers in the autumn after everything else has finished flowering - and the bees use it to stock up on winter food. So I've left mine and now would like to trim it back so it doesn't take the copings off the wall - does anyone know if it will flower in the spring and be useful for the bees before other things start to flower, in which case I'll trim it back later when there are lots of other flowers?

  • Ivy is unusual in that it is a plant that 'grows up'. The trailing stems are the juvenile form and do not flower but when mature it produces the shrubby upright stems that flower and have berries.  The trick is to root a cutting from the mature form, which will stay shrubby and can be grown as a bush in the garden.

  • Help please,

    This winter in my front garden I have cut back six 80 foot high flowering lime trees, which were suffering with wind breakage.  So now there will be no lime flowers this spring for the thousands of bees that feed off the trees. I have a large front garden mostly '50% grass 50% moss and weed. Not much wild flower. So should I strip back the surface and sew bee food annuals - but what ones.? What would lime eating bees prefer? Poor soil over clay.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,537

    You could make a flowering meadow, but it will be too late for those bees that wanted the lime flowers. They will probably disperse and find an alternate source of nectar.

    Try "pictorial meadows" for wild flower seed for differing situations.

  • YviestevieYviestevie Posts: 6,965

    Monarda is a great flower for bees (common name is Bee Balm). 

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,299

    Ive just been watching an old recording of a tv programme about the decline of bees. Apparently they use several litres of water each day to keep their hive cool, and it would require a single bee to make 40,000 trips to provide just one litre of water. So dont forget to ensure there is a water supply in your garden.

  • BoaterBoater Posts: 241

    I too have chosen some flowers that are labelled as good for bees or pollinators - but I'm not as smart as some of you and never even considered making sure I had a range of different flowering times....

    Something I have seen recently in garden centres and even in supermarkets, is bee and butterfly mats - as far as I can tell it is a mat pre-seeded with with flowers suitable for whichever insect it says on the label. All you need to do is clear a patch of ground the right size (cut the turf and probably fork over the soil below so the roots can penetrate) lay out the mat and water it.

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286

    One of the best out of the natives is Viper's Bugloss, if I was going to have one plant for bees that would be the one as it attracts a lot of different bee species. Will be in flower from June through to August.

    Red and white clovers are another, the red clovers will be used by even the rarer species of bees as well as the more common ones. image

  • I agree with GemmaJF about the Viper's Bugloss, bees love it. They also love Cosmos and single Dahlia in the summer time. Early in the year, Crocus are great for attracting Bees and I might suggest you plant the little bulbs this autumn as they bloom early, they are one of the first flowers I see bees arriving on Maggie Jones.

  • TheSlothTheSloth Posts: 38

    If you like cooking (or even if you don't) I suggest a huge herb garden. If left to flower, most herbs are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Herbs like sage, lemon balm, mint, thyme, comfrey and hyssop are beautiful when they are in full flower.

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