Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

New to rosybee plant range: Anthemis tinctoria

Anthemis tinctoria and a solitary bee: Colletes species

Anthemis tinctoria and a solitary bee: Colletes species

I have the Denman House (the WI training college) garden to thank for this find. I keep bees in their grounds and am friendly with John, their head gardener so when I check the bees I try and also have a look round his luscious herbaceous borders.  He keeps one section that he calls the 'bee garden' and it is full of herbs and catmint. In this area I noticed that this pale cream daisy was almost vibrating with movement and on closer inspection discovered that it was covered in a range of small to tiny solitary bees. 

Most solitary bees dont really buzz - or if they do its very quietly - and they are so much smaller than honey or bumblebees that its quite easy to mistake them for flies if you only give them a casual glance. Close up, though, you can see the detail and often quite defined bee stripes.

These little miracles are very effective pollinators, in part because when they collect pollen they dont glue it to themselves with nectar, the way honey bees do, and so they drop much more as they go from plant to plant.

I am still working on how to identify which is which but when I find a plant like this which, at that time, had at least 20 bees per square meter it must deserve a place in both our research beds and our shop. The plant flowers for June and July with masses of daisies on fine grey foliage, 60cm tall. See shop