Out in my garden this week on a lovely sunny day I noticed a tiny bee visiting the crocuses. The pollen sacs on its legs were so huge it looked like it would struggle to fly. Numerous other bees were also visiting these same flowers, and this is a clear reminder of how important these early flowering plants are to bees.
It is well known now that bees have been having a hard time of it in recent years and there has been a push to plant more bee friendly plants in our gardens. This is important, although most gardens do pretty well in the Summer at providing plenty of food for bees, even if it’s just the daisies on the lawn. However at this time of year suitable flowers are much more scarce, and when bees emerge on just the few warm days they really do need to stock up on food quickly to give them the energy they need before the weather warms properly.
Early flowers of course are not just for the bees – they give us a joyous feeling that the new season is kicking off and will soon be warm and full of new growth. So think hard about making space for some of the really early flowering plants – bulbs such as Snowdrops and Crocuses (especially Crocus tomasinianus and chrysanthus) are great, also herbaceous plants such as Pulmonaria (see last year’s blog), Primroses and Hellebores. Shrubs include the wonderfully fragrant Lonicera purpusii and Mahonias, whilst amongst climbers is the winter flowering Clematis cirrhosa.
This post was written by Christine Whatley on March 12, 2015 5:49 pm