Plant of the Month: September 23

This year we are asking our followers to ensure their gardens can help bee populations thrive – encouraging both diverse plant life and a variety of bee species to visit. With 25 species of bumblebees and more than 250 species of solitary bees, many bees can be encouraged into your garden if you choose your plants carefully.

The Royal Horticultural Society has helped us look beyond summer favourites such as lavender and borage. Longer autumns and milder winters mean that bees such as the buff-tailed bumblebee can be active all year round. They need garden plants to help them through.

So, without further ado, September’s plant is Salvia (Salvia ‘Amistad’ agm).

The Salvia genus contains many wellknown aromatic plants attractive to pollinating insects. There are the herbs, sage and rosemary, and ornamentals available in colours for any planting palette.

Salvia ‘Amistad’, with its purple velvety flowers, produces food for bees from summer until the first autumn frosts. This tender perennial prefers full sun in a sheltered position, but requires welldrained conditions.

The long tubular flowers are easily accessed by bumblebees (bombus hortorum), however, shorter-tongued bees can cheat by biting holes in the flowers so that they can reach inside and rob the nectar reward.

Others to try include:
• Buddleja
• Verbena bonariensis agm
• Ceratostigma plumbaginoides agm – herbaceous perennial that likes full sun
• Single-flowered dahlias – tender tuberous perennials for a sunny, warm spot.