How to: attract bees into your garden
Insects play an important role in our gardens. And bees are at the heart of the grow-your-own-game. No bees, no pollination, no fruit.
To ensure that summer sees us picking buckets of passionfruit and barrow-loads of pumpkins we integrate bee-attracting flowers into and around the orchard and vegetable garden.
Choose bee attracting plants to take advantage of their fundamental ability and encourage biodiversity in your garden. We find that bees love blue, purple and yellow flowers especially. The flowers listed here will bring exotic honeybees as well as a medley of native bees into your patch, and boost your harvests.
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This is a perennial shrub that forms a mound about 90cm high and wide. It is dry-hardy and has softy velvety leaves and stems. Deep purple spires with hundreds of flowers in each arched cluster appear from spring through to autumn. In fact our ‘Amistad’ is never without a flower! Each long-lipped flower opens in succession up the flower stem so that there is always something to make a bee happy. Prune to the ground in late winter to allow new shoots to regrow from the base. (The big salvia family also includes Mexican sage, which is another winner for bees.)
This herb grows in full to part shade. The leaves and stems are fairly prickly. with flowers from winter into spring. Star-shaped flowers in white or blue bloom from winter into spring and are edible, with a cucumber-like flavour. As a bonus this plant self-seeds easily.
Pride of Madiera
This tall wide shrub has spectacular, long purple spires filled with thousands of individual Patterson-curse-like flowers from spring into summer. It stands up to full sun and needs plenty of space as it grows. 1.5-1.8m. Prune after flowering.
This generous, multi-stemmed shrub loves full sun and flowers from summer – autumn. Varieties vary in height dramatically, from 1 – 3m. Prune finished stems back to ground level late in winter.
Don't forget the natives!
Native bees come in all shapes, sizes and sounds. Our stingless bee hive occupies a valued morning sun spot in the kitchen garden. Teddy bear bees and blue-banded bees are also frequent visitors to the garden.
Text: Linda Ross