What a difference a few days of non-stop sunshine makes, summer has arrived at last and the bees and butterflies are making up for lost time. Certain areas of the garden are buzzing and flitting, movement everywhere, its fantastic.
The buddleia bushes are having a rest, having been deadheaded, it will be maybe another week before the side shoots will be flowering once more. In their place, the plant the insects seem to prefer is Eupatorium Atropurpureum. This is a massive plant this year, thanks to all the rain, well over 7ft tall and the flower heads must be a good 10 inches across.
When photographing the bees and butterflies I use the macro lens which is normally used for the flower photos, so I am just a couple of inches away from them. The bees sometimes fly round my head but so far I’ve never felt threatened. I wish I was 2 ft taller, then this photo would have been much better!
There are so many Tortoiseshell butterflies at the moment, they seem to be everywhere. The butterflies aren’t the least bit bothered by all the bees feeding at the same time, amazing.
We seem to have just as many Red Admiral butterflies, quite often 4 or 5 on this plant at once.
This bee stayed for such a long time, having a really good feed from one of the many evening primrose plants, Oenothera. This is the wild plant which is a bit too generous with its seeds but by leaving the old stems standing in the winter we have the benefit of Goldfinches visiting which come to eat the seed.
I hadn’t realised that bees would be attracted to the Kniphophia in the front border, wouldn’t have thought they would be able to access the nectar.
One of my new plants, Heliopsis helianthoides scabra Summer Sun, is drawing in the bees even before it has been planted.
Dahlia ‘ Twinings After Eight’ is just as good for food as the other flowers in the Bee and Butterfly border, must get some more single flowered dahlias.
Anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise’ has been flowering non stop for months now, I have just taken some cuttings so that next year we can have it elsewhere in the garden. Good bee plant.
My new plant from Killerton, Rudbeckia ‘ Little Gold Star’, has been feeding the bees ever since I brought it home. Even though the flowers are much smaller than the normal Rudbeckia, there are so many of them on just this one plant, 35 at the last count, so that should keep lots of bees happy.
Where would we be without Verbena bonariensis, loved by bees, butterflies and humans! They seemed to take a long time before flowering this year, probably because of all the rain, but once they started, it has been a non stop nectar bar with bees and butterflies queueing up!
Out of all the flowers that are being visited at the moment, also by Gatekeepers and Peacocks, definitely the favourite with all the bees and butterflies is Eupatorium Atropurpureum. Each huge flower head is covered with insects and and they are so concentrated on what can only be described as a feeding frenzy, that they don’t notice me with my little camera only a couple of inches away. If you have room, this is a definite ‘must have’ plant for your garden and even if you don’t have room , try to squeeze it in somewhere, you won’t regret it once the bees and butterflies arrive!