How you can attract butterflies and bees

Californian poppy
Californian poppy
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SOUTHSEA GREEN: Planning for the new season

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There are no bees in the garden’. I hear this all the time, but it’s not true.

Our garden and my allotments have never been so full of bees.

It’s because bees hate wet days and when the sun shines they are out there foraging and pollinating the flowers.

Where are all those so-called green people? Do they grow the right flowers and vegetables?

Our garden is full of bees, hoverflies and a lot of butterflies that I don’t know the name of!

There are no weeds in the garden because we weed them out every day, I think the answer lies in the plants we grow.

Single flowers have the most pollen. The bees are very fond of hebe, an evergreen shrub we love very much.

When I was an apprentice, the hebes died every seven years. Well, it seems the hebes have either got hardier or the winters have got warmer.

It’s amazing because last winter was one of the coldest I can remember.

I compare it with 1962 when the trees in Reading IPRA college froze.

We students had to fell dead trees to feed the boiler so that we could keep warm. The hebes died that year.

But here at Waterlooville the hebes survived and there are loads of bees on all the flowers.

All the experts tell us that buddleia attracts butterflies. But what if you don’t have room for a buddleia or, dare I say, you don’t like them?

Why not try some lovely lavender? There are dozens of bees on the flowers as I write.

When we went to the garden centre, I counted 25 bees on a batch of plants which were in full bloom.

Single flowers in bloom right now? Have a look at cosmea. This single-flowering plant is a sheer delight and is available at all good garden centres.

It blooms all through the summer (Keydell nurseries at Horndean has got hundreds of them).

After planting cosmea, the wonderful bees and butterflies will arrive in your garden.

If you would like the butterflies to come back again for another delectable treat of pollen and nectar, plant a clump of golden rod.

This is a very common plant, but our garden would not be the same without it.

I have also been really impressed with campanula Lodden Anna.

This amazing plant, with light pink blooms, is full of flowers – and dozens of bees.

Meanwhile, on an allotment near mine, there are hundreds of butterflies and hoverflies on a lovely swathe of Californian poppies. What a wonderful show.

Have a look at the runner beans. Are the beans forming?

If the answer is yes, then it’s due to the bees. Perhaps you were still in bed before they came into the garden!