Bumblebee queens come out of hibernation as early as February and these are quickly followed by new-generation solitary bees, butterflies and moths. They are are all searching urgently for food at a time when flowering plants are scarce. We can all help them by planting early flowering trees, shrubs and perennials.
Here are our top suggestions for gardens:
Crocus ( especially purple and blue varieties)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.)
English Bluebell (Hyancinthoides non-scripta)
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari botryoides)
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) – single flowered forms
Bugle (Ajuga reptans)
Shrubs and trees
Oregon Grape (Mahonia)
Sallow/Pussy Willow (Salix sp.)
Fruit trees (Crab apple, flowering cherry, etc)
Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Barberry (Berberis darwinii)
If you have room for a live-in lawn, try sowing Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) which is loved by all early pollinators and don’t forget to let the dandelions grow.