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Our gardens are home to a huge range of living creatures that play a very important role in pollinating.

The easiest way to attract more beneficial wildlife to your garden is to grow pollen and nectar-rich plants that they love. By having a variety of their favourite blooms, you can keep them happy from early spring to late autumn.

What is pollination?

The transfer of pollen grains from the stamen to the stigma and the egg is the process of pollination. This is how the plants are fertilised to produce the next generation. Certain plants depend on wind and water to pollinate, but most rely on animal pollination from bees, butterflies, birds and even bats.

Here are my top 10 plants that are perfect for pollinators:

Lavender

A great all-rounder, lavender is hardy, smells delicious and looks beautiful all year round. Plant it along a pathway so it releases its heavenly scent as you walk by, where you can enjoy it as well as the bees and the butterflies.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – East, West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Dahlia

The single or semi-doubled flowered varieties are best, because double flowers tend to be bred without pollen-producing parts. Other varieties have too many petals, making it difficult for bees to find the bounty. Simple dahlias are hardy and low-maintenance plants for pollinators.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, East or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Loam, clay or sand

Wallflower

Erysimum cheiri (common wallflower) are like small shrubs, flowering during spring and summer. Many varieties have strong, sweet scents, making them perfect for edging pathways. They also make a fantastic addition to a cottage garden.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – East, West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Borage

This plant is actually a Mediterranean herb, with lovely star-shaped blue flowers that pollinating insects love. The soft green foliage adds some interesting texture to your garden and the plant self-seeds, so it is low maintenance.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – East, West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk, clay or loam

Foxgloves

The quintessential British cottage garden plant, foxgloves have bell-shaped flowers that are popular with bees. They are also well-known for being one of the few flowering plants that grow happily in a shaded spot.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – East, West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk, clay or loam

Cosmos

Long flowering and available in loads of different styles and colours, there are many with great scents like the chocolate cosmos. Blooming from late summer into autumn, they’ll provide beautiful colour as well as attract pollinators.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Scabious

These plants have elegant, feathery blooms, usually in a pale lavender or cream colour. They are full of nectar, and insects including moths and butterflies love them. Looking great in any bed or border, by cutting the stems back after flowering, they will carry on producing for months on end.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – East, West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Verbena bonariensis

A tall plant that grows up to 2.5 metres, much loved by pollinators. The tall, strong flower heads bear masses of tiny purple blooms from summer to autumn. They would look striking in a city or courtyard garden.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk, clay or loam

Marigolds

A vibrant summer bedding plant that will greet you with bright, fiery flowers and aromatic leaves. Varieties with open centres make it easier for pollinating insects to reach the pollen.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – East, West or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Marjoram

Better known as oregano, this is another herb that pollinators adore. If it is left to grow freely, they produce tiny, delicate flowers in pink or white shades. The spiky, protruding stamen that offers the pollen freely, makes them a great choice for pollinators.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – East, West, North or South facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand, chalk or loam

Once you’ve chosen the plants to incorporate into your pollinator friendly garden, steer clear of using any pesticides on them whilst they are in bloom. You could also make your space even more inviting by building an insect home to welcome them in.

Spring is here, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest Board


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