Get the Bee basics this Summer: Bee-friendly Plants

bee on briar rose

Hedgerows, gardens and green open spaces create havens for bees, butterflies and insects and create a myriad of beauty and flower interest for us, too!  Find out more in our bee-blog this month.

Ready to bee-gin?


Ready to bee-gin?  We’re with you all the way:

7 Bee Basicsbumblebee

  • Bee clever with your planting – plant in sunny clusters to make your planted area more attractive to bees than a random scattering or shady spot.
  • Bee uncomplicated – avoid fancy cultivars of plants which may look beautiful but may lack pollen and nectar. Double flowers make life difficult for bees – make it simple.
  • Bee careful with pesticides – although not necessarily dangerous to bees, it’s best to spray in the evening when bees are less active.
  • Bee accommodating – why not help bees to create their own nests by leaving out bamboo canes or hollow plant stems. You can also buy cardboard nest tubes or drill your own bee holes in logs or fencing. Full sun is best.
  • Buzz over to and browse by flower interest to select your plants with bees in mind.
  • Bee pro-active – become a beekeeper – find out more on the British Beekeepers’ Association website.
  • Bee informed: Friends of the Earth have published a really handy pamphlet on Bees with loads of tips on encouraging and nurturing our bee population, including a guide to plants that bees LOVE.  Click the poster below to find out more.

Bee friendly plants
We know that bees love a lavender and make a bee-line for buddleia, but there are many other shrubs and trees that can provide a fantastic green playground for our buzzing besties!  Here’s just a selection of our top bee-friendly trees, hedging and shrubs:

  • Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula): This shrub’s leaves provide food for caterpillars of the Brimstone butterfly and the pollen is perfect for bees and other insects. The birds get a berry bonus in Winter, too!sambucus nigra
  • Cotoneaster francheti: The small white and pink flowers open in June and are followed by bunches of oblong, orange-red berries in autumn. The seeds are dispersed by birds and the flowers are bee-approved!
  • Elderberry (Sambucus nigra):  Bees and hoverflies are attracted to the flowers, and many birds and small mammals feed on the berries.
  • Purple Berberis (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea):  Small, pale yellow flowers are tinged with red and open in April.  Berberis makes both a good formal and informal hedge and its flowers provide pollen for bees and early insect visitors.
  • Sweet Briar Rose (Rosa rubignosa): The rose’s flowers appear as singles or clusters with pale pink petals and yellow stamens – very tempting for our bee buddies.
  • Yellow-barked Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera flaviramea):  White clusters of flowers in late Spring lure in the bee and other insect friends.   Such a versatile plant, great for screening, hedging, landscaping and garden interest. Win-win!

Now you’ve fuelled our bees passion for pollen with your planting plans, don’t forget to take care of all of your trees and hedging this Summer – just 4 pointers to remember:


  1. Check tree ties, stakes and guards to make sure that they’re not restricting or damaging the plants and remove any that are no longer needed
  2. Use water sparingly but give special focus to new seedlings, perennials, trees and shrubs as their roots won’t yet be strong enough to search out water from lower in the soil
  3. Trim hedges, but check for nesting birds before you begin. Leave the hedge cut wider at the base than the top – this not only looks better, it allows maximum light to the whole hedge, keeping it healthy and lush.
  4. Pre-order your bare root plants, ready for the Winter – and save 15%.

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