There has been a fair amount of press coverage about the importance of bees in recent years and even social media campaigns to get certain pesticides thought to be damaging to bees withdrawn from sale. The key issue is that many of our flowering plants, trees, fruit and vegetables require the help of insects to pollinate. For instance, it has been estimated that one in every three bites of food that we take is dependent on pollinators. Pollinators includes bees, butterflies and many other winged insects. So anything we can do in our gardens to help them has to be a good thing like using plants which have a good supply of nectar and pollen is a great start. The RHS has a ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ label that can be seen in garden centres and certain nurseries indicating plants that are loved by bees and butterflies to help identify those plants.
Other tips from the RHS are to aim to have plants that are attractive to pollinating insects in flower from early spring to late autumn if possible giving them a long season of food supplies. As a rule avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers these flowers may lack nectar and pollen, or insects may have difficulty in gaining access. Also never use pesticides on plants when they are in flower.
From observation I have found that bees and butterflies love lavenders, roses, echinops, alliums, verbena bonariensis, veronicastrum, lupins and delphiniums to name but a few. And given that these are favourites with many people too, using pollinator friendly plants is hardly a hardship!