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Our gardens can be home to a range of creatures that play an important role in pollinating. It is important, wherever possible that we help this process along as much as we can. The easiest way to attract more beneficial wildlife into your garden is by growing a variety of pollen and nectar-rich flowers. Not only do they look beautiful, but you can also help the pollination process and ensure some species avoid extinction. Here we discuss our favourite flower bulbs for pollinators.
What is pollination?
Firstly, we should discuss exactly what pollination is and why is it so important. Pollination is an important part of the plant’s life cycle and describes the transfer of pollen grains from the stamen of the plant to the stigma and the egg. This process is how plants are fertilised in order to provide more plants in the future and starts when a pollinator, in search of food, settles on a flower. They sip from the nectar whilst the pollen sticks to its body. As the bees continue to search for more food, it transfers the pollen. Whereas some plants are pollinated by wind or water, many rely on pollinators such as birds, insects, bees, butterflies and even bats. Honeybees are the most active pollinators with the majority of crop pollination coming from honeybees.
Boost colour for wildlife
When choosing your plants you should also try and consider the colours you are planting. Not only can a variety of colour help transform your garden into a spectrum of colour, but it also plays an important part in attracting pollinators. It has been proven that there are certain coloured plants that pollinators are attracted to. These colours include blue, purple, orange, reds and yellows. Bees, in particular, are lured in by colours on the blue end of the spectrum (e.g. mauves, lilacs, sea blue and sky blue). Bees will still pollinate with other flowers, however, the blue rule is something you perhaps would like to consider.
Plant as many as possible
Packing your garden full of flowers means that you can provide a haven for pollinators. They will never have to travel far to get their next meal. Not only will large amounts of flowers help them, it means you will have gorgeous flower displays to enjoy. No matter whether you have a small garden, a large space or merely a balcony, there are always options to create the perfect place for pollinators to visit.
Not only are alliums great for pollinators, but they are also an amazing way of adding height into your stunning flower displays. The round heads of these flowers make them stand out of the crowd and catch your eye. They come from the same family as onions, garlic and chives and many varieties are fragrant because of this connection which helps attract bees and butterflies. Because the flower heads are packed full of petals, they form a feast for pollinators. Although many come in various shades of purple, you can also find blue, pink and white varieties.
Try these Varieties: Gigantium, Aflatunense, Azureum, Gladiator, Mount Everest
Also known as Eranthis Hyrmalis, the winter aconite blooms between February and March making them a great way of providing nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies during the late winter to very early spring. These dates also coincide with the same time bees and butterflies start to begin waking up. Another great thing about winter aconite is the fact they are a naturalising variety which means they can provide a blanket of colour and impressive drifts as the years go by.
One of the nation’s most popular flower bulbs, the crocus flower comes in many beautiful varieties and come back year after year, making them a great addition to any green space. They start blooming early in the year, making them a welcome sign of Spring and a great food source for pollinators. Crocus flowers are extremely rich in nectar and it has been known for the Queen bee to sometimes sleep within crocus flowers as they close at night. You have plenty of colours to choose from as well. From yellow, purple or white to some with distinctive petal markings.
Try these varieties: Blue Pearl, Conqueror, Dorothy, Fuscotinctus, Romance, Ruby Giant.
Also known as Galanthus Nivalis, the common snowdrop is great for attracting bees. With the flowers usually blooming at the start of the year before winter has finished, they are a great option as they provide a valuable food source for the early risers. They are another flower bulb that will naturalise and establish beautiful drifts over time. They thrive in woodland areas or flower borders alike.
Other Flower Bulbs
The options above are some of the most popular options. However, here are a few more of our favourites.
Muscari Armeniacum (Grape Hyacinth)- They are strong naturalisers and come in a strong blue tone that is perfect for attracting bees.
Fritillaria Meleagris – These are perfect for the shadier, cooler areas of grass. They are a great addition to wildflower meadows but also look amazing as part of a flower border display.
Camassia- Another naturaliser, these bulbs will form large groups over time and will return in late spring which the bees will not be able to resist. These flowers love moisture so bear this in mind when you choose your location for them.
As you can see, there are a plethora of options to choose from that pollinators will be happy with. We must all try and do our bit to help pollinators, especially bees however we can. The most important thing is to try and plant a variety so that the pollinators have loads of options to choose from. Once you have chosen which pollinator-friendly plants to go for, ensure you stay away from any pesticides which they are in bloom. By planning what you are planting in your garden with pollinators in mind, you will be able to provide them with sufficient pollen and nectar all the way from early Spring to Late Autumn.
If you need any help with bulbs and gardening advice, then please contact us. Boston Bulbs Wholesale is a privately owned business with over 35 years’ experience of importing only the finest quality horticultural products through Europe and from farms and growers over the UK. Whether you’re a landscaper, nursery, local authority, wholesale, retailer, private business or individual gardener, give us a call on 01775 769 333 or visit https://bostonbulbswholesale.co.uk for help with flower bulbs, grass seed and more.