The Sunday Gardener's Blog

Bees are not just for summer

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Pulmonaria 'sissinghurst white' with solitary bee

Bees emerge from the winter hibernation literally starving and have a very short time in which to find food or die. Early flowering plants are vital for the solitary bees and some of the best bee friendly plants for this time of year are Pulmonaria illustrated first left, a low growing Woodland plant which is shade tolerant and easy to grow.  Many  Hellebores flower for weeks from winter through to spring and provide both a lovely garden display and food for the bees.

The  Forget me not is liked by bees, as is Rosemary (in common with many herbs) which although it has small flowers,  is very attractive to bees.

Viburnum × carlcephalum is a shrub well worth growing for it's  fantastically sweet scented flowers, which are also like by bees as are Bluebells and Blossom flowers.

Just yesterday I chanced to look at the outside wall of the house adjacent to garden. Very still, glistening, warming up in the sun was a solitary bee which look like it was on its first outing. I kept my eye on it for a few minutes and later it was gone. I hope in the direction of the Pulmonarias. 

 About now the humble Aubretia is coming into flower. It's a fairly common place plant, very easy to grow and it looks especially effective trailing down walls. Aubretia forms a dense mat of blue and with it come the bees. It is a good source of food and as we know, bees love blue. Just to remind us of what is to come later in the year here is a short, less than 2 minute video clip of the bees drawn to blue flowers, in this case hardy Geraniums and Chives, on a sunny day, with plenty of birdsong.

I love the sound of the early bees, low flying hovering over the ground foraging for food. The sound of the beginning of spring. 

blossom emerging
Aubretia with bee

 

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