Pollinator Friends: garden plants of the month for July

Pink, white and purple summer bloomers not only help your garden to look stunning, but will also make you incredibly popular with honeybees, bumblebees and others.

The whole country is buzzing!
A green garden is not just a joy to look at, walk through and relax in; it’s also a paradise for bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies and other useful insects. A flowering garden is a sweet shop for them, particularly since intensive agriculture and increasing paving mean that they are struggling to find food. This is threatening these useful creatures, who are very important for pollinating flowers, plants and crops. A green garden with pollinator friends helps tackle the lack of diverse nutrition and results in plenty of cheerful buzzing, fluttering and humming life. The plants supplement what is already growing and flowering in the area and help to create a healthy biotope in your neighbourhood #sustainability.

These are the Pollinator Friends!

  • Yarrow Flat white, yellow, pink and purple umbels that sway beautifully in the wind. The flowers smell a bit like chamomile.
  • Anise hyssop Tastes of aniseed, smells like liquorice, blooms with fabulous spikes packed with often indigo flowers. Not just popular with insects, but equally irresistible to birds in the autumn.
  • Hollyhock Majestic height with enormous white, pastel-coloured or red flowers: this is the pollinator friend that can turn a wall or fence into an insect holiday resort.
  • Astrantia One of the most beautiful summer bloomers ever – a flowering pincushion in a star. And it comes in red, pink or white – no wonder that Bees & Co love it.
  • Anemone Fabulous white, pink, lilac and purple flowers with an even more attractive green, yellow or dramatic black heart. This pollinator friend makes your garden look even more exciting.

From far and wide
The pollinator friends are native to regions throughout the world. Yarrow and anemones occur in the northern hemisphere. Anise hyssop has travelled over from North America, but also grows in China and Japan. Hollyhocks originate from countries east of the Mediterranean, and Astrantia shines in mountainous regions from the Caucasus to the Pyrenees.

Garden tip Make sure that your flying visitors also have something to drink in the form of a pond, a water feature or a large bowl of water that makes a garden filled with pollinator friends even more attractive.

Bees and flowers – all you need to know.
Bees visit flowers in order to eat, but particularly in order to collect nectar and pollen for their larvae. At the same time they also pollinate flowers by travelling from flower to flower with pollen on their feet, snout and bodies. Insects can see which flowers contain nectar, and pollinator friends attract the visitors with their scent and colour. The flowers are lovely for humans to look at and a kind of billboard for insects: this is the place to be!

Garden style
To create a bee paradise you might think of an insect hotel (obviously that’s always welcome in the garden!), but the style and mood of the summer tends more towards new frontiers. It can look a bit modern and tech, with transparent and semi-transparent materials creating a disconcerting depth effect. The colours white and purple help with that. You can also use reflective materials or pots with an iridescent or oily effect to make it look ‘smart’.

QUOTE
“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.”
Mark Nepo

Care

  • Hollyhock likes to be placed in the sun against a wall or fence, whilst the other pollinator friends prefer a sunny to partially shady spot.
  • Yarrow and Astrantia like to be in a well-draining soil, whilst the other pollinator friends prefer slightly damp soil.
  • With the exception of anise hyssop, give the plant extra food during the growing and flowering period.
  • Removing or cutting away wilted flowers will keep the plants attractive and make sure that the pollinator friends have enough energy to carry on flowering.
  • All the pollinator friends are hardy perennials that you can enjoy for years. In the autumn they die back above the soil and hibernate underground.
  • Leaving the dead leaves on the plant protects them against extreme winter conditions, and looks lovely with some frost or snow on them. Remove them at the end of February and the pollinator friend will shoot again in the spring.
  • After a few years the plants can be separated to keep them young and vigorous.