to save the bees

feed the bees


…flowers mean bees mean flowers…

 bees need flowers for food and energy

that’s it

(and sometimes for shelter)

that’s really it!

most flowers need bees and other pollinators to reproduce

it’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship that has been evolving for more than one hundred million years

So let’s rethink the concept of a flower from a bee’s point of view.

Some trees are flowers to bees;

fruit bushes are flowers to bees; 

vegetables and salads that we grow are flowers to bees:

what many people consider ‘weeds’ are flowers to bees:

and of course…flowers are flowers to bees.

***(except some aren’t and we’ll get to that later!)

Bees need food from when they first emerge any time from early spring right up until the last queen goes into hibernation in late autumn.

So to help our struggling bees let’s make sure we help nature provide them with as much food as they need.


Let’s become

Florally Active


Florally Aware!

Pesticides kill and harm bees.

When buying seed, plants and bulbs you should be aware that they more often than not come pretreated with a cocktail of bee harming poisonous chemicals.

Seek out and ask for organic or untreated plants and seed.

 Plant swap from trusted sources. 

Save your own seed.

If you care about bees, insects, nature and yourself


use pesticides:

insecticides, fungicides, herbicides



‘weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them’

– winnie the pooh




Bees best friend. EARLY forage. LATE forage. Long flowering period. March – Dec.


Loved by bees. Vital cover for insects, birds and vertebrates. Autumn fruiting. In flower May – September.


Bumblebees are their main pollinator. Long flowering period. Flower June/July/August. Beautiful but poisonous!


Thistle is a vital plant. Superb late forage. Flowers June – Sept. Bees, butterflies and hoverflies love it.


Wind pollinated but visited by bees. Long roots good for soil. Thrive in nitrogen rich soil. Perennial.

White Campion

Pollen attracts bees and hoverflies.  Flowers May – Oct.  Late source of forage.  Flowers stay open at night and feed moths.


Flowers June to November. Loved by bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies, butterflies, beetles. Toxic to some animals and people.


Great wildlife attractors. Foodplant for small tortoiseshell/peacock butterfly caterpillars. Ladybirds feed on aphids they shelter. Should be in every garden.

Corn Marigold

Very long flowering period. Flowers June – October. Great late forage source. Bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies will thank you.


Source of nectar and pollen. Late forage provider. Flowers June – September. Pioneer plant.

Tufted vetch

Flowers June – Sept. Great bee plant. Butterflies and ladybirds love it too. Pea family.


Easy to grow. Loads of nectar. Flower all summer. Great plant to get your kids to grow.

‘I DREAM of a quiet man who EXPLAINS NOTHING and defends nothing, but only knows where the RAREST WILDFLOWERS are BLOOMINGand who goes, and finds that he is SMILING not by his own will’

– Wendell Berry


Flowers May to September. Loved by bees and other beneficial insects. Poisonous – be aware.

Bird's foot trefoil

Flowers June, July and August. A hugely important plant for wildlife. Nectar rich flower. We love it.


Flowers June to August. Borage is an amazing plant for bees. It’s an annual herb worthy of any garden.

Devil's Bit Scabious

Flowers June – October. Vital nectar source for late flying butterflies, bees and hoverflies. One of our favourites. 

Tufted Vetch

Flowers June – Sept. Great bee plant. Butterflies and ladybirds love it too. Pea family.

Field Scabious

Flowers July to September. Bees best friend. Long flowering period. Seeds also feed the birds.


Very early nectar and pollen source. Flowers January – March. Flower when very little else is available. Plant native untreated bulbs in Autumn.


Flowers June, July, August. Loved by bees, moths, butterflies and other insects. Late forage source.


Bees best friend. Long flowering period. Very attractive to pollinators. Valuable end of season food source. Succession sow.

Musk Mallow

Flowers July, August, September. A good pollen and nectar plant for bees, butterflies and hoverflies. Late forage.

Lesser Knapweed

Flowers June to September. It is one of the most amazing bee plants around. Arguably the best plant in terms of its wildlife value.


A valuable food source for bees, insects and birds. They are also very easy to grow, perfect for children. Sow some fun.

‘And when our bodies rise again, they will be wildflowers, then rabbits, then wolves singing a perfect love to the beautiful meaningless moon.’

– Philip Appleman


Flowers June to September. Highly attractive to a number of bee species – with an especially high value to bumblebees. 

California Poppy

Flowers June to August and sometimes into September. The papery flowers attract bees, hoverflies and butterflies. They are easy to grow.


Attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. So easy to grow.  Long flowering and fabulous feature plants.

Cuckoo Flower

Flowers April to June. Provides early food for bees, flies, moths and butterflies. The main larval plant for the Orange Tip butterfly.


Flowers June to August. Produces pollen and nectar. A favourite herb, great for bees and butterflies. Grow your own from organic seed.


Poppies are wildlife-friendly plants having abundant, accessible pollen for bees, hoverflies and other pollen dependant insects.


Flowers March to May. Wild primroses provides early food for bees. Do not mix up with the brightly coloured garden primroses which are mainly useless.


Great for their ability to attract and feed pollinating insects right up to and through the early frosts. Easy to grow and they self seed.


Blooms February and March. Wonderful native tree. Abundant source of pollen and nectar. Really important early food for bees.

Snake's Head Fritilary

Flowers March to April. Great early source of nectar for bees in spring. Plant organic/chemical free bulbs in autumn.


Flowers from July to September. A green manure, which when allowed flower is great for all bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies.

Bush vetch

Flowers April to November. Beneficial flower for bees and insects. A favourite of carder bees here on the sanctuary. 


Trees for Bees

Stick to native trees.

Willow, Alder, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, Elder, Rowan.

Most fruit trees are beneficial to bees.

Apple, Cherry, Pear, Plum.

Also fruit bushes, currants, berries, raspberries and strawberries.

Garden Flowers

Simple single flowers are best. Double flowers are usually no good to bees as they cannot get into the flower. 

Some of our recommendations:

Cosmos, Marigold, Phacelia, Sunflower, Lavender, Daisies, Comfrey, Honesty, Hollyhock, Asters.


Remember to buy organic/non treated native wildflower seed.

Some recommendations:

Birds foot trefoil, Knapweed Lesser and Greater, Wild Primrose, Bush Vetch, Tufted Vetch, Common Vetch, Devils Bit Scabious, Field Scabious, Red and White Campion, Corncockle, Cornflower, Ragged Robin, Foxglove, Ox eye Daisy, Muskmallow.

Flowers we don’t recommend:

Annual bedding plants such as Geraniums, Petunias, Busy Lizzy and Polyanthus have virtually no pollen and nectar so are of little value to bees and insects.