8 Spring Flowers to Feed the Bees – early nectar plants

I’ve just taken stock of the 8 spring flowers already open in my garden and pots. Some I brought from my old home, others were waiting for me in my new one. All of these will make nectar and pollen available for the early pollinating insects that will soon be emerging for food, especially as a warm spell is predicted later this week.

Bees, hoverflies and butterflies, moths and beetles are all in decline, and are massively important for humans. Without them we would not eat. No apples and pears, no tomatoes or plums, blackberries or raspberries; the list is endless. They pollinate our food for us for free. We owe them a lot, and it doesn’t take much to help them get back their strength. So if you are starting a new garden or trying to improve your garden for wildlife and biodiversity, go to your garden centre and buy things with SINGLE flowers, not flouncy doubles. Plant them out in groups, making them easier for the insects to spot, and watch your garden come alive. If we all do this, we can turn around an alarming decline in our insect population. This is ecologically very important for all of us.

Fifteen days ago my garden looked like this!

snow on tree

Snow covered tree

This morning I went outside to take the photographs you see of spring flowers which are laden with food for the bees and other insects. Isn’t nature wonderful when we give it a chance?


Heather in full bloom. Great bee food.


Grape hyacinth or muscari, another great early insect feast


Primula and snowdrop. Both great early insect food.

early nectar plant for bees

Hellebore. Great for early bee food

crocus for early nectar

Crocus. Great early nectar and pollen for insects


Pansies or violas are good early insect food, too


Hebe. Lots of different ones that flower early

Sarah Raven’s Bees, Butterflies and blooms is an excellent programme with lots more information that you can glean to help you make a difference. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01c89vp/Bees_Butterflies_and_Blooms_Towns_Gardens_and_Britain_in_Bloom/

There are many more early spring flowers that will help our insects to recover from the lack of food and habitat we’ve caused for them. You can find more listed here. http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/features/wildlife/plants-for-bees/1107.html

Time to put something back, don’t you think? So get planting. Let me know how you are helping our wildlife.

[Added 28 Feb 2012] Many thanks to the BBC who have highlighted this blog as one of the most relevant to Sarah Raven’s programme, and I’ve since written more on this subject, showing you how to feed the bees and butterflies on the cheap. You can read that blog here.

And here’s my latest offering for bees. Perennials from seed that bees will love.

One response to “8 Spring Flowers to Feed the Bees – early nectar plants

  1. Pingback: Tame the hedgerow, make room for birds and insects | Earth and Hearth

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