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On May 20th we celebrate the wonderful bees all across the world but did you know that there’s a reason this particular day was selected? The initiative for this celebration originated from Slovenia, a country which has the most beekeepers per capita in the world. The date was chosen to celebrate a great beekeeper, Anton Janša, who was a real beekeeping revolutionary and who wrote two books which are still useful manuals for many beekeepers.

Whilst not everyone will be able to keep bees due to time or space, we can all help to provide a welcoming environment for them in our own gardens, whether that's a large garden or a windowsill flowering plant. We’ve collated a short list of flowers you could include. 


 Pink: Foxgloves

How to identify a foxglove?

These flowers are bright purple/pink in color with unique tube-shaped petals. The plant itself can grow up to 2m tall, and its leaves are oval-shaped, hairy, and have a toothed margin.

Where can you find them?

Foxglove is a popular plant across the UK and grows between the months of June and September. This particular species can be found on woodland edges, roadside verges, heathlands and gardens and grow particularly well in acidic soil. 

Value to bees

Foxgloves are known for their excellent source of nutrients and pollen. Did you know that bees see purple more vividly than most other colors? This is why you will almost always hear a faint buzzing sound whenever your near these plants. Their distinctive flowers have evolved to be especially attractive for long-tongued bees. The petal's lower lip offers the bees the optimal landing place. This specific plant is essential for the wildlife, as it not only holds significant amounts of pollen they also reproduce organically through the means of bees. [1]

Other pink flowers to consider: glory flower, escallonia, oregano, marjoram


 Purple: Lavender

is lavender good for bees
 How to identify lavender?

Lavender is probably one of the most distinctive plants in the UK and is commonly known for its sweet fragrance and bright purple/lilac flowers. Another way to identify lavender, particularly the English species, is by its bloom period, which begins in early summer and ends in September when conditions worsen.

Where can you find lavender?

Lavender is actually a Mediterranean plant and needs a lot of sun and fast-draining, fertile, and alkaline soil to survive. Hence, there aren't as many lavender fields in the UK as in Europe! This picturesque plant is mainly grown in lavender fields in the UK, most commonly in the Cotswold and Yorkshire regions, but many gardeners will include it due to it's beauty, beautiful fragrance as well as for it's health benefits like helping with insomnia. 

Value to bees

This fragrant herb, especially the English species, is one of the best nectar providers for bees. The plant's vibrant colors, wide span, and pungent ordure attract the bees from far away. This particular plant is more popular with the bumblebee due to their more extended tongue, taking them only 1.1-1.4 seconds to extract nectar from the flower. In contrast, the honey bee will take 3.5 seconds because they have to push their head further into the flower. [2]

Other purple flowers to consider: buddleia, alliums, catmint


Red: Poppies

are poppies good for bees
How can you identify Flanders poppies?

Who wouldn't recognise these red beauties? Famous for their significance in the reflection of World War 2, Flanders poppies are one of the most commonly-known flowers in the UK. Poppy flowers usually have 4-6 petals and are a vibrant red in full bloom. They typically are spotted with a black center and a striking yellow stigma. They grow in groups and flower from June to September.

Where can you find poppies?

In the UK, there are seven varieties of the poppy plant that can be seen, all of these seen from the months of June through to September. These are commonly seen in arable lands, roadsides, and other disturbed habitats. 

Value to bees

The poppy plant lacks inflorescences, meaning that they struggle to produce nectar. Despite this, bees strongly like this species because they provide lots of pollen. The filaments in the center of the flower are long and accessible, which is helpful for all the variety of bees. [3]

Other red flowers to consider: nasturtiums, zinnias 


 Yellow: Walflowers

are wallflowers good for bees
How can you identify Erysimim (Wallflowers- Fragrant Sunshine)?

Wallflowers are surprisingly one of the most highly scented garden plants. They are available in a range of vibrant shades like yellow, red, orange, pink, and purple. This variety is bushy and long-flowering, producing long stems (up to 1m) full of flowers. 

Where can you find Erysimims?

This species' flowering time is in the months between March and September and prefers well-drained and poor to the moderately fertile soil. This particular plant copes incredibly well in coastal areas.

Value to bees

The Erysimum flower lasts incredibly well all year round. It has an exceptionally high level of nectar, hence why bees are attracted to this species. The bright colors of the petals and the fragrant smell attract all kinds of insects, and as they last all year round, the animals aren't to go a miss. This is why it is a perfect flower to add to your garden collection. [4]

Other yellow flowers to consider: sunflowers, marigolds


Blue: Delphiniums

are Delphiniums good for bees
How can you identify Delphiniums?

In the months of June and July, Delphiniums produce towering flower spikes that can reach 2m tall, so they're pretty hard to miss! They are widely known for their vivid sapphire blue color; however, they come in pinks, whites, purples, and reds. Their stalk provides excellent support all year round and in all conditions. Each floret has 4 or 5 petals, and there are approximately 30 flowers on each plant. 

Where can you find Delphiniums?

The flowering time for delphiniums is June and July, with a second flush of flowers in August and September if cut back correctly. They are perennial, which means that they flower every spring, and they are tolerant of frost and will rarely be killed off during the winter months. You will most likely find them near cottages or anywhere with fertile and rich soil. They grow best in cool and moist summer climates, and they do not fare well in hot, dry summers.

Value to bees

The bright colors of the plants attract the different species of bees from far away. These plants are high in nectar and provide great nutrients for bees. The flower itself is pretty open and accessible for each type of bee, both long and short-tongued.[5]

Other blue flowers to consider: borage, blue globe alliums

Want to start beekeeping? Check out Thorne!

honey bees at thorne

This Lincolnshire-based business take pride in being the UK's leading manufacturer and retailer of beekeeping equipment. Being in the industry for over 100 years now, their beekeeping knowledge is unparalleled and for beginners, their website is the perfect place to start learning. Did you know that our KindleFlamers Natural Firelighters are perfect for bee smokers?

So, if you are interested in finding out more cool facts like that or if you want to start beekeeping yourself, head over to their website here.










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