Wild flowers for bees and butterflies

Jan
14

Wild flowers for bees and butterflies

There are various types of wild flower area one can create but the easiest, quickest and most colourful is an annual wild flower area. These are great because our native annuals germinate quickly and flower from spring till the end of the summer. They attract a myriad of fascinating insects, bumblebees, honey bees, solitary bees, hoverflies, butterflies as well as some moths; they are such a valuable resource because they supply nectar right through the year and word soon gets around the insect world as to where to find a good meal everyday!

Hoverfly taking nectar from a Corn Marigold

The best time to sow annuals is between late February and the end of May. Scatter the seeds onto loose, bare soil; a sunny flower bed is ideal. If your soil is heavy clay I suggest spreading a top dressing about 1 inch thick made up of multi-purpose compost mixed with one third sharp sand. This creates a great germination bed which warms up quickly but is not too thick to prevent the seedlings getting their roots into the firmer ground beneath as they get bigger. This is useful because the compost layer tends to be quite light and dries out easily whereas the firmer ground beneath will not. To speed up their growth water the seeds/seedlings in the evening during dry weather and you will have them growing and flowering a lot quicker.  See my annual seed mix which is ideal for the bees and butterflies by clicking here.

Garden designer Helen Billetop using my seed for a lovely effect

 

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