I’ve discovered recently, just how many types of bees are found in the UK: 24 species of bumblebees, around 225 species of solitary bee and just a single honeybee species, according to bumblebeeconservation.org.
This year in the garden the flowers of three plants have been especially attractive to bees of different species.
First off, one of their favorite flowers is the French lavender Lavendula stoechas. In appearance this variety of lavender has been something of a disappointment. I expected to see many more tiny purple flowers on the flower heads and whiter tufts emerging from the top of the flower heads. But the main thing is, the bees have been regularly buzzing around the lavender flowers.
Next up is the flower of the annual antirrhinum (snapdragon). These plants, bought for £1 each from a local Poundland store have produced a profusion of flowers with an abundance of colour and bees seem to love them.
Finally, a surprising discovery is the blue Campanula poscharskyana a variety of the commonly known bellflower. It’s an attractive plant producing a profusion of flowers. It’s easy to grow and its only downside is that it’s invasive. However, since it doesn’t produce deep roots, it’s easy to control. If it spreads too much just pull a few pieces out.
The Campanula poscharskyana is thriving in several dryish, semi-shaded spots in the garden and does well up against walls where it will lightly cling and climb up 18 inches or so.
The bees love these flowers so it’s surprising the plant is rarely mentioned on lists of flowers that attract bees. With bees being in decline the Campanula poscharskyana is a winner.