Welcome to Day 10 of the #30DaysWild Challenge with Essex Wildlife Trust!

Today we want to carry on our learning of bees. On day 3 we learnt some fun facts about bees and began exploring ways of feeding them, today we want to discuss the importance of bees and look at bee friendly plants.

As always we would love to hear your wild stories or see your wild photographs, even if they are not task related, we will select some of these to feature in the wild stories section of this blog. You can send these to us via Facebook or email.

Today’s task is:

Explore a Bee Friendly Environment


Between April 2015 and April 2016 the US beekeeping association reported losses of 44% of their colonies and in the UK almost 17% this worrying trend sets to have big impacts on our environments. Bees are incredibly important to society because they are nature’s pollinators.

As well as helping with bee feeders you can also plant bee friendly plants or pollinator pit stops, the farm has a few of these to explore.  

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Perennial bulbs, with stunning blue bell-shaped flowers that have a sweet scent. They look spectacular when grown in groups. Make sure you plant true native British bluebells.

Bluebells grow well along with a hedge or under trees and provide a great early food source for bees.

Flowers: May to September.

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Tall, hardy biennial with pink trumpet-shaped flowers. Foxgloves tolerate shade well, but flower best in full sun. It freely self-seeds.

This classic cottage garden plant is loved by long-tongued bumblebees such as the garden bumblebee (B. hortorum) and the common carder bee (B. pascuorum).

Flowers: June to September.

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

A very hardy perennial, and great for the back of a herbaceous border. It prefers damp places but will grow almost anywhere.

It has a long flowering period that’s loved by bumblebees, especially long-tongues species. Short-tongued species such as the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) often bite through the side of the flower to reach the nectar.

Flowers: May to August.

Clovers (Trifolium species)

Red clover (T. pratense) and white clover (T. repens) are adored by bumblebees. Red clover, in particular, is a favourite with many of the really rare and more common bumblebee species.

Clovers aren’t particularly showy as garden plants, but they can grow well in a border. They grow better as part of a wildflower meadow area if you have room.

Flowers: May to September (red clover); April to October (white clover).

Greater knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa)

A beautiful thistle-like wildflower. It produces dozens of large vibrant purple inflorescences on tall stalks that act as magnets to pollinating insects.

Greater knapweed is a common meadow wildflower, but it also looks fabulous among other plants in a herbaceous border.

Flowers: July to September.

Hellebore, stinking (Helleborus foetidus)

An unusual looking native evergreen perennial plant. It has light green bell-shaped purple-edged flowers that hang from a thick upright stem. It gets its name from the unpleasant smell of its crushed leaves.

Stinking hellebore flowers in late winter so is great for early emerging queen bees. It grows well in shady spots.

Flowers: January to May.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)

This native plant is a vigorous climber and a great addition to a wildlife garden. In summer, its highly fragrant, tubular, pink and cream flowers are buzzing with bees and other pollinators. It is a common species in hedgerows and woodland.

Train it up a wall, fence or over an obelisk. If you prune it hard it thickens up to become an ideal nest and roost site for birds.

Flowers: June to September.

Viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare)

A stunning biennial plant for a herbaceous border, with spikes of vivid blue flowers up to 60cm tall. It will attract a cloud of bumblebees in high summer.

Viper’s bugloss is perhaps the best single plant to attract long-tongued bumblebees to your garden. Much loved by almost all species, and it looks great too.

Flowers: June to September.

Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

An ancient woodland plant and one of the most beautiful wildflowers of early spring. Its star-shaped flowers have 6 white petals around a green centre with yellow stamens.

It tolerates poor soils in both shade and sunlight. Plant it in the shade under trees and shrubs, or out at the front of the border in full sun.

Flowers: February to May.





Today’s blog was written by S.J Wymess from SJ Photographs.


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Written by hecfadmin