If you want to attract wildlife to your garden, there are lots of ways to go about it. British gardening expert and writer Monty Don recently spoke about three stunning plants that are particularly popular among honey bees.
- See also: Read up on how to create your own wildlife garden with our guide
Not only do they look beautiful, adding vibrant color to your plot, but they'll also invite pollinators. In a recent episode of Gardener's World, Monty Don recommends starting as early as you can in the year with wildlife gardening and carrying on for as long as possible.
The first plant he mentions is the Agastache 'blackadder', also known as the giant hyssop. It has a long stem with lots of lovely purple flowers.
'Agastache is one of the favorite plants for bees,' Monty says. 'It has these spires of flowers, rich purple from mid-summer right into early autumn.'
'Give it some sunshine, reasonable soil and that will be a magnet for the bees,' he says.
In the episode, he then goes on to plant a much taller plant, the hollyhock. 'Hollyhocks are fantastic for insects, with nice open, big flowers,' Monty Don says.
'But, if you are going to buy hollyhocks particularly to encourage wildlife, do buy singles rather than doubles. That means each flower is a single, saucer-shaped flower rather than one with convoluted petals.'
This is because bees and other insects find it hard to access the pollen and nectar from flowers with complicated flowerheads.
Hollyhocks need good drainage and plenty of sunshine. Planting some hollyhocks is also a brilliant way to create height and a cottage garden feel in any area of your garden.
Wild clary, also known as Salvia Verbenaca, is a much smaller plant, but another that bees will love. It needs full sun to grow healthily and, similar to the Agastache, it has beautiful purple flowers that bees are particularly attracted to.
- See also: Container gardening – 7 steps to grow plants, veg, herbs and more in pots
Flowers are essential to pollinators - to keep the bees coming back, read our guide on how to make a bee-friendly garden, which includes lots of other plants, from mint to snapdragon. To expand the kinds of wildlife in your garden, a garden pond will work wonders.
We'll be keeping an eye out for these on our next garden center trip.