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The Bee Border

We have a border which is about a metre wide and 25 metres long. It has a row of fruit trees in it. In between the trees we planted things which would provide the pollinating insects with food when the fruit blossom was finished. Over the years the Geraniums have taken over and thugged out more precious plants. So the question is, if I remove all the Geraniums what could I replace them with? Nothing taller than  say a metre and  definitely well behaved.



  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,088

    Maybe some of these: Borage, Stachys, Foxgloves, Pulmonaria, Scabious, Verbena, Echinops, Aquilegias, Salvias, Thymes, Eryngiums?

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,955

    Foxgloves maybe too tall.

    Aquilegias are almost as bad as Geraniums for taking over.

    Scabious ditto. The one we have seeds itself all over the place.

    The only Verbena which survives the winter here is V. bonariensis which again is rather tall.

    Thanks anyway. Will keep thinking.

  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    What about hellebores, we remove the leaves when they flower in winter and I've seen bees on them very early in the year.

    Mine flower for 6-8 months a year.

  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,290

    Have you got Geranium phaeum?  It likes shade and may be one to keep.

    To extend the season for bees look to early and late flowering plants; there is plenty around in summer for them.  Bulbs in spring include mascari and bluebells.  Prostrate rosemary is good for bees and flowers early. Primroses too.

    In late summer the sedums are good and as has been said Verbena bonariensis is good from spring through autumn and even up til Christmas in some years.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • The bees here love heucheras when they are in flower, same with the hostas. As Ladybird said, Salvias are a hit, as are snapdragons.  Cosmos seem to be going down well this year too.  I'd say Geum, but if my Mrs Bradshaw is anything to go by this year, they might be a bit taller than you'd like.  

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,955

    Asclepias are too tender for us here. They just die in winter as do Echinacea.

    Already got Hellebores in it and Sedums. Lots of Alliums too. Muscari are a total no no. Spend as much time digging them out as I do any other weed,

    Primroses and Cowslips flower at the same time as the Fruit trees, so not really much use to extend the season.

    Geranium phaeum is as big a weed for us as ground elder. Terrible stuff, self seeds all over the place.

    Thanks folks, Keep them coming. As you can see I have been thinking about it for a while and everything I came up with could be dismissed for one reason or another, mainly on height and time of flowering.

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,955

    Geums are probably as good as anything. We have about 30 different ones already.

    Sorry should have made it clear  that I was looking for perennials.

    Heucheras rarely survive more than one season for us, for some reason, as do Heucherellas.

    We can only keep Rosemary in pots in the poly tunnel over winter. Dies of cold otherwise.

    Again many of the nice Salvias die over winter and the hardy ones get a bit tall for the border.

    Veronicas and Veronicastrums too get rather too tall.

    Hyssop sounds good.

  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,683

    Just thinking of what I have - Japanese Anemones, Lavender, Salvias and Fuschias seem 'attractive' to bees. I read somewhere that bees love purple flowers so maybe Aliums and Catmint too. Dahlias supposed to be good too (singles). 

    Have fun choosing.

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653

    ln addition to those already mentioned - Lythrum (likes loads of water), Agastache black adder (might be too tall for you), allium sphaerocephalon, allium siculum, dwarf lupins, agapanthus, hebe, perovskia little spires, rudbeckia/echincea smaller varieties.

    Last edited: 08 August 2016 22:04:50

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,053

    The alliums (sphaeros)  are great - despite the wind and weather we currently have here, the bees can cling onto them very successfully!

    They can get tall Berg, around three feet for me,  so might be ok for you height wise. I usually have some other stuff round them for support. Some are slightly horizontal through the alchemilla and a Phormium, which is quite nice too  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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