Each year I find a few more plants that I think will be a really useful addition to our range. Obviously they have to be good for bees but they also have to fit into either a garden or a meadow setting and behave themselves!
My normal source of inspiration is to visit some great gardens and watch what is attracting the most bees; over the last two summers I visited Sussex Prairies, RHS Wisley then Cambridge Botanics. From these vistis I identified the following:
- Eupatorium (hemp agrimony) - 120cm providing height, structure and a mass of pink flowers covered in honeybees
- Calamintha (Calamint) - lovely low, catmint-like plants but less floppy and covered in tiny which flowers
- Stachys byzantina (Lambs ears) - fluffy grey leaves and deep pink flowers that are particularly attractive to 'wool carder' bees.
In addition I have added a couple of different cultivars of species that proved highly successful in our research; teucrium 'summer sun' and veronica spicata 'hiedkind' - both are dwarf varieties which will be useful for who dont have quite so much space of what to grow in pots.
In addition I am trying an agastache that seems to be a bit tougher then the species version of foeniculum and which I hope will be more tolerant to heavy clays.