Great pollinator reads

With Christmas just around the corner, here are some great books to buy as presents, or to put on your own Santa’s wish list. Planting: Companion to Wildlife Gardening by Chris Baines The Wildlife Gardener by Kate Bradbury No Nettles Required: The Reassuring Truth About Wildlife Gardening by Ken Thompson THE RHS Wildlife Gardening for…

Plant of the month – Blue Eryngo

Eryngium planum, known as Blue Eryngo or Flat Sea Holly, is native to central and southeastern Europe and central Asia. It is a herbaceous perennial growing to 90 cm high with branched silvery-blue stems, and numerous small blue conical flowerheads surrounded by spiky bracts in summer. It is bush-like in appearance but fits in well in any herbaceous border.   It has…

Ponds & Pollinators

Not everyone would consider ponds when thinking about garden habitats for pollinators. However, if planted with these insects in mind, a pond (or other water feature) can be extremely beneficial. Many native pond plants provide important nectar and pollen. The best of these include: Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) Water Forget-me-not (Myositis scorpiodes) Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata)…

Food for caterpillars

While bees and wasps require pollen and nectar-rich flowers to feed themselves and their young, butterflies and moths have different food requirements. Adult insects are nectar feeders but their offspring are not, and need plant leaves and grasses for food. Female butterflies and moths locate and lay their eggs on the type of plant that…

Get planting!

A ‘wildlife garden’ doesn’t mean that everything in has to be ‘wild’ or ‘native’. While native wildflowers are certainly good for pollinating insects, some require low nutrient soils and are hard to establish in gardens. There is, however, a whole range of species of flower that are related to our wild flowers but are better…

February spotlight species

The Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) is one of the first solitary bees to appear in the year, with males emerging as early as the end of February. This bumblebee-sized insect can be seen darting around gardens protecting a territory and searching for females. Flower bees are extremely fast flyers but often hover in front of…

The Flower Border

It’s still too early in the year to be planting in the garden. However it’s never too early to start planning that new ‘pollinator friendly’ flower border. Here is a selection of really good perennials that will give a dazzling display from Spring through to Autumn, year after year (providing you ‘dead head’ from time…

Get planting now to help early Spring insects

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…

Wildlife friendly hedging

Planting a mixed hedge of native species will provide a very valuable addition to any wildlife garden. Hawthorn, for instance, provides food for more than 150 different insect species, and the May flowers provide much needed early-season nectar for pollinators. By autumn the flowers have turned into the red berries beloved by birds. Moth caterpillars…

Bee Hotels

  Some solitary bees nest in holes or tunnels, and can benefit from artificial bee hotels being provided in gardens. These can be bought online or from garden centres, but you can also make your own. Marc Carlton’s excellent website provides lots of information on this. http://www.foxleas.com/make-a-bee-hotel.asp