Why is having flowers in your garden important?
Wildflowers are becoming increasingly scarce in the countryside due to the loss of many traditional habitats such as hedgerows, hay meadows and chalk grassland. The extensive use of pesticides in farmland and a move to monocultures have also drastically reduced numbers. Gardens are becoming a stronghold for some species and you can really help wildlife by adding some flowers to your outdoor space.
Many insects need flowers throughout spring and summer to provide them with nectar and pollen. But not all flowers can provide these vital energy sources:
- Exotic and highly cultivated garden flowers are largely unsuitable, as they either produce little pollen and nectar or keep it really well hidden from insects.
- Most annual bedding plants have little nectar to offer bees or other wildlife.
The best plants for your garden are often cottage garden flowers and native species. These flowers can look fantastic in a garden setting as they are easy to grow and are pretty resistant to disease and pests. Native wildflowers, as well as grasses, provide lots of food for a variety of wildlife. There is pollen and nectar for insects like bumblebees and hoverflies, seeds for birds, and leaves for herbivores such as bank voles.
Why not get started on a wildflower meadow to really bring a buzz of life to your garden?
A hanging basket on a balcony or pots of native wildflowers on the patio can still make a huge difference for bees and other insects. Try making use of all the space you have by planting vertically on trellises or using window boxes. Read our flower menu to see which flowers are best for bees.