Bee Friendly

Bees and butterflies are urban dwellers too. Here’s an easy way to make them happy: let your basil bolt and blossom, and butterflies will flutter by…

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How to make it really easy?

One of the rare disadvantages of having window boxes filled with pelargoniums and geraniums is that these plants don’t have much to offer bees. Low-maintenance supplementary planting can help.

One quick and easy solution is to buy a few herbs in pots – basil, thyme, mint – from your local supermarket, and let them be, don’t pinch out new growth. After a while, they will bolt and flower.

Bees – and butterflies too – love herb flowers.

Some plants like mint are better segregated from other plants – mint is invasive. Different herbs also need different levels of watering – another reason to keep them segregated in their own pots, even within the one window-box.

If the gardening bug is starting to bite, and the quick reward of supermarket potted herbs feels too easy, then grow them from seed – see  the Supplier page on this website for some suggested sources.

Herbs loved by Bees & Butterflies

Thyme, Basil, Coriander, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena, Sage, Lavender, Mint and Chives.

Other bee-loved flowering plants

These can be planted to flower in succession through most of the year… if you feel doing so fits into your low-maintenance scheme

Tulips, Daffodils, Crocuses, Snowdrops and Anemones.

Cowslips, Forget-me-nots, Campanula, and Alpine Wallflowers.

Hydrangeas, Buddleias, Jasmine, and Salvia.

More information

Check out the London Beekeepers’ Association website. They write about window boxes and balconies here: Bee-friendly window boxes

Here’s The Great British Bee Count – how to identify bees!

The Big Butterfly Count website also offers a downloadable chart to identify different types of butterfly.

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