Get your garden buzzin by planting some flowers for bees and butterflies.
Bees and butterflies will bring your garden to life and it is easier than you think to make a world of a difference to your plants and the planet in general. Butterflies and bees are both fantastic insects for pollinating, so attracting them will open up a world of benefits for your garden including healthier plant and tree growth, and bigger harvests, local birdlife will appreciate it very much too.
We have seen a decline in the populations of bees and butterflies in recent years and the number of hives worldwide is dropping, this is a result of disease and the use of pesticides, climate change and habitat loss. Ireland is doing better than a lot of other European countries so thank goodness we’re on the right road but there is so much more to be done.
Luckily, there is still time to help save our national bee and butterfly populations. By protecting pollinating insects, you are also protecting the food you eat. Protecting wildlife is both easy and fun and it’s great craic for the kids and extremely educational too
In just a few months you will see your garden transform into a buzzing hotbed for bees butterflies and birds by planting wonderful wild flowers such as Cornflowers, Lavender, Rudbeckia, Foxgloves and a personal favourite – Buddleia (the butterfly bush), all these plants are exceptionally easy to grow.
Tips on how to make them feel at home:
- Believe it or not insects like to have a little drink of water now and then so keep a few saucers of water dotted around the garden. One might think that the bird bath would do the job but alas this is not so as the bees would be very afraid of predators, aka birds.
Warning: Jam jars are also no good as the bees are most likely to fall in and drown so just some saucers or very shallow bowls would do the trick.
- The main source of food for butterflies and bees is nectar, this is why flowering plants are so vital for our garden insects. Funny enough, the pollination of our fruit trees and flowers is pretty vital to us humans too! Bees can see the colour purple best, so lots of purple plants like lavenders, aster and buddleia would be very effective for attracting them and they look really pretty to us as well, so it’s a win-win situation.
- Bees & butterflies, in fact most insects require shelter from heavy winds and rain, away from predators. Many garden centres and florists sell different types of insect houses or insect hotels. Place these in a sheltered spot like behind a tree, among thick foliage or on a protected wall away from the house.
- You could also try making your own insect hotel, they are pretty easy to make and can be a great bit of fun for the kids.
- Butterflies also like flat surfaces to sun bathe so they will love the patio for a little rest after feeding.
- You should try to avoid using any pesticides in your garden, although it is not the intention to harm the bees and butterflies, they can often die as a result, much better to encourage spiders and lady bugs to your garden to feast on the aphids rather than using pesticides, remember the circle of life!
- Bees and butterflies need flowering plants full of nectar. The longer the flowering period of the plant, the better it is for pollinating insects.
- Try hollyhocks and sunflowers, apple trees and blackberry bushes are also wonderful.
- It is also better to plant in blocks of the same varieties instead of one offs spotted all over the garden. Bees and butterflies love a lot of the same types of flowers, therefore if it works for attracting bees, it will more than likely work for attracting butterflies and when your garden has bees and butterflies, the birds will thank you for them too.
A few more easy care flowers to attract the highest number of butterflies and bees:
Let us know how it goes! Post some pictures of your flowers on Instagram and tag us @madflowersinsta, we’d love to see them!