Bee and butterfly gardening
A garden humming with bees and shimmering with brilliantly-coloured butterflies is full of life and beauty, the insects adding another dimension to your planting and giving you yet another reason to enjoy your garden.
By encouraging bees and butterflies into your garden you're doing the planet a favour as well as your plants. Populations of both insects have been plummeting, a combination of disease, climate change and the lack of suitable pollen-rich flowers. It's important because their activities are responsible for around a third of the food we eat – so helping them out makes good sense all round.
You'll find all you need in our garden centre to make your plot a haven for bees and butterflies: here are some of the features you can include for them when you're planning your garden in Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare.
- Include water: Like all creatures, bees need to drink. In our garden centre you'll find all sorts of water features, from bird baths to bubble fountains and ponds.
- Hang up a bee hotel: We stock a range of housing designed with bees in mind. Solitary bees lay eggs in cavities in trees or wood; recreate the same habitat with a bee hotel hung on a sunny wall.
- Plant bee-friendly plants: Bees love plants with simple, open flowers so they can get at the nectar easily. Good choices include clematis, hollyhocks, geraniums, lavender and flowering herbs.
- Make a sunbathing platform: Butterflies adore a warm sunny spot, so give them somewhere to sunbathe by placing a wide flat stone in a sunny spot in your garden to absorb heat for them to enjoy.
- Leave caterpillar-friendly areas: Butterflies are only half the story: caterpillars need catering for, too. A patch of nettles is perfect caterpillar food, and other plants caterpillars enjoy include mallow (Malva moschata) and mullein (Verbascum bombyciferum).
- Butterfly-friendly plants: The more nectar-rich your plants, the happier your butterflies. They'll flock to buddleja, sedum, red valerian, scabious, Michaelmas daisies and aubretia – so plant plenty in your garden.
Please ask the staff in our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre for more information and advice about attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.