We are in the midst of somewhat dark and difficult times. Newspapers, social media and television constantly reminding us of the troubles that loom uneasily around us. Every day seems like a battle. And yet, there is one battle that continues to fly beneath the radars of far too many of us; let alone the political leaders across our planet.
Bee populations in decline
Our bee population is in a worrying state of decline. Without bees and other pollinators, there is no pollination of crops, 70% of which feed the world. And without food crops the survival of the human race itself is questionable. If current trends continue some bee species will be lost from Britain altogether; and one in ten of Europe’s wild bees will face extinction. It’s serious.
A number of factors are at play here including the ever topical climate change, the destruction of bees’ natural habitats and the continued overuse of bee killing pesticides.
Pollinators need food, water and shelter, and since World War II, 97% of our wildflower meadows (a natural habitat for wild bees) have been lost. As such, pollen and nectar rich flowers in our own green spaces provide both much needed food and indeed shelter for the beleaguered bee.
Planting to attract pollinators
As gardeners and plant lovers this is a call to arms. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder, trowel to trowel and do what we do best. Eliminate the usage of harmful pesticides and most effectively, plant, plant and plant more.
The plants that we so adore, that we spend our last single penny upon are the single most important factor in this worrying dilemma. Luckily, it’s a rousing cheer for us gardeners as we can cheerfully proclaim to our long-suffering but significant other halves, that we are helping to save the planet by buying more plants.
But what plants too choose? Like many garden centres and online plant retailers, Thompson & Morgan have adopted the beneficial ‘RHS Plants for Pollinators’ logo which highlights plants which will attract pollinators into our gardens.
Scan through Thompson & Morgan’s catalogue and you’ll see the ‘RHS Plants for Pollinators’ logo sprinkled liberally across its pages.
Attract pollinators all year round
As gardeners our endeavour is to attract these precious pollinators into our plots year-round. In the depths of our dreary winters plant cheerful, yellow winter aconites and beautifully scented Mahonia x media ‘Charity’. Spring heralds the much anticipated arrival of our beloved snowdrops, drifts of golden narcissus, stunning hellebores and a bounty of beautiful tulips, all of which will have the bees buzzing for joy. Summer naturally brings with it a seemingly never-ending parade of pollinating plants; a confection of Cosmos, fantastic fuchsias and geraniums galore. An endless summer bouquet of blooms. And finally, into the listless, mellow days of autumn, delightful dahlias, echinaceas, asters and the ever-popular bee magnet, sedums provide a final hurrah for our busy bees.
No matter what size our garden, be it a solitary, veronica packed window box, a hanging basket crammed with a cascade of lobelia or perhaps a single patio container playing host to exquisite agapanthus, there is no excuse.
It is estimated that there around 27 million gardeners in the UK (from a current population of 64 million). Think of the positive implications of each of us 27 million gardeners planting just one container of pollinating plants.
We have to take action before its too late. Let’s make sure the sting in this tale is ensuring we still have a bee population that has a sting in their tails. Find even more information and advice about plants for pollinators over on our dedicated hub page.
I am an experienced and professional gardener, designer and garden writer/blogger.
I set up my gardening business in 2004, having studied horticulture and garden design at Kingston Maurward college in Dorchester, where I gained the prestigious RHS Advanced Certificate in Horticulture.
In the past fifteen years I have maintained, designed and planted a wide range of gardens from small urban gardens to large sprawling countryside gardens.
With a life-long passion for gardening, I have a good knowledge of plants and have created many beautifully planted gardens during my career, including my own prize winning gardens in Bournemouth.
For more information about me and my popular gardening videos please visit my website www.mike-palmer.com
I had ordered the tri coloured standard roses x 2. They have arrived today. The planting instructions are missing. Each “standard” consists of three separate roses with their stems plated together to make “one” plant. This was not shown on the picture; if it had I should not have bought one standard, yet alone two.
We bought some small standard rose trees this year from Tescos for £12. They are nice strong little trees, and much better value. I am disappointed with the purchase and I should like a refund.
I am still waiting for the rest of my order, and I hope those plants are of a better quality than the roses.
Would I recommend Thompson Morgan? So far no I would not.
I look forward to hearing from you.
R Evangelisti Customer C012392033 Item number T165665P
I’m sorry to hear that your plants were not as you expected. I have passed your comment and email address to our customer care team for their attention.
All the best
What an interesting article which I found so enjoyable to read and also appreciate the research that has gone into it. We must look after our endangered species which is so important to our gardens. This was very well written.
Thank you. You are right we need to look after our pollinators. As gardeners we can play a key role.
Thanks for a very informative article. So easy to read with the fluid flow of language mixed with factual information made it easy to assimilate the knowledge.
The challenge is always to ‘earth’ the knowledge in order to change practice so I need to get digging that earth and start planting.
Thank you for your comments. It’s much appreciated. You can find more in my blog http://www.mike-palmer.com.
Thanks Mike for keeping this vital issue before us, and giving great tips for what we can all do to help.
Thanks Christina. As you say, this issue is vitally important and we must all do our bit.
Interesting article Mike. I’ve made a list of what to plant this year, once I’ve repaired the damaged fences etc. after Storm Dennis! I do need a reminder of what to plant and when. The daffodils are doing ok at the moment, even if a bit wind battered. Need to start on a plan for when they’re over.
Thanks Mandy. Glad you enjoyed it. Be glad when this stormy weather has come to an end. Seems to be going on forever.
Brilliant article Mike and something which is always at the forefront of my planting! I follow you on IG and love your tips and information on your blogs.@mycotswoldhaven
Thanks for your comments Arlene. It’s just so important and there’s nothing better than the buzz of bees around our gardens. Mike
Brilliant article, it’s so easy to attract pollinators as explained here by Mike. We ALL need to start doing our bit.
Your blog is so interesting, full of knowledge and logical facts, so easy to read and follow.
Thanks Jean. I really appreciate your comments.
Thanks Jane. And yes, you’re so right, we can all make a difference here by doing something we all love…. gardening and plants! Mike