Along with birdsong and the hum of a distant lawnmower, the gentle buzz of a bee recalls 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 wildflowers growing in the UK, bee numbers are dropping dramatically. But if we all planted just a few plants rich in pollen or nectar, we could really turn around bees’ fortunes.
To begin with, try planting pollen-rich flowers in one part of your garden so that bees do not have to travel too far to fill up. Bees love a varied menu, so aim to plant a mixture of colours, textures, shapes and heights. This is also the perfect excuse to try new combinations of flowers or to have a bit of a garden redesign.
Butterflies are the other pollinators well worth welcoming into your garden. And with their natural habitats threatened by everything from intensive farming to new housing estates, even the smallest bed or window box can give them a boost.
Choose a warm, sheltered, sunny spot and make sure the 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.
By Anita Stepnitz