Along with birdsong and the hum of a distant lawnmower, the buzz of a bee brings to mind long, lazy summer days.
These insects, drifting from flower to flower, pollinating as they go, are nature’s invaluable little helpers.
Sadly, with the increasing use of pesticides and fewer wild flowers, bee numbers are dropping dramatically. If we all planted plants rich in pollen or nectar, we could really turn around bees’ fortunes.
Plant pollen-rich flowers in one part of your garden so bees do not have to travel too far to fill up. They love a varied menu, so plant a mixture of colours, textures, shapes and heights. This is also the perfect excuse to try new combinations of flowers. Butterflies are the other pollinators and with their natural habitats threatened by everything from intensive farming to new housing estates, even the smallest bed or window box gives them a boost.
Choose a warm, sheltered, sunny spot and make sure butterflies cannot miss it by planting in clusters rather than mixing up colours and scents.
Our favourite bee and butterfly-attracting plants we’ve put in Cumberland House Museum garden are: wallflowers, foxgloves, thyme, lavender, marjoram, rowan, ice plant, cosmos, scabious and buddleia.