Plants flowering in
February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Bees only eat nectar and pollen from flowering plants and trees. As they collect their food they pollinate the plants, allowing them to reproduce. Towns and cities can provide a diverse source of forage in gardens, parks, tree-lined streets and railway sidings if bee-friendly flowers are grown from early spring to late autumn.
This is not an exhaustive list, but a simple, year-round guide of the most attractive, easy to grow garden plants to bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies. It includes natives and non-natives, from early flowering bulbs, shrubs and climbers, which provide vital early pollen for bumblebees and solitary bees, through to late flowering shrubs whose nectar boosts stores for honeybees. Some solitary bees also collect nest material from flowers such as Stachys bzantina (Lambs’ ear).
Bees like blue, purple, violet and white flowers best, grown in large clumps in a sunny, sheltered spot. They do not like double headed varieties whose nectar and pollen has often been bred out. Wild flowers like dandelions, clover, dead-nettles and alkanet provide welcome food for our urban neighbours. And the roof of a garden shed carpeted with sedum, heathers and lavenders will be a feast. Ivy, privet and holly are among the most abundant sources of food if they are allowed to flower.
Bee-friendly flowers make urban areas more attractive places in which to live and work. If we make cities better for bees and pollinators, they are better for us too.