Consider the bees and the butterflies

Birds and insects have responded positively to the warm weather and it’s such a pleasure to share the garden with them.

Sunday, 10th March 2019, 4:27 pm
A bee takes advantage of the sedum. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Four tit species – great, coal, blue and long-tailed – have entertained in numbers, but now they’re pairing-up.

The tribe of eight long-tailed are now two, and we’re hoping they’ll nest in a conifer. Meanwhile, there’s a property dispute between blue tits and tree sparrows over the nesting box.

‘Busy bees’ is an appropriate description for the various species helping themselves to the early supply of nectar and pollen. The winter heathers have been smothered in hive bees (Apis Mellifera) since early February, and the occasional bumbler and butterfly drops in.

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They need all the help we can give as their numbers fall so consider them when buying ornamentals. There’s a wide choice of bee and butterfly-friendly plants to cover the year.

Suttons is asking £20 for a starter pack of nine summer flowering types grown in 9cm pots – verbena, achillea, solidago, echinacea, digitalis, rudbeckia, salvia, penstemon and knautia.

Each one is attractive, of course, but sometimes it’s the plainest of all that bees go for. You should see and hear them in the raspberry bed throughout summer.