On the Menu for … June 2019

Published: June 15, 2019

Posted on 15.06.2019 |
Updated on 24.06.2019 |
Added in Sarah Shoesmith's Blog

 In our garden, June is a time for whorls. Of course, given the weather that much of the UK has experienced during the past week, it is also a time for thunder and torrential rain. The weather has been challenging in many ways, and all of these photos have been taken between heavy showers.Thank goodness for the whorls! The flowers not only provide valuable nectar for our pollinators, they also offer shelter by acting like mini-umbrellas for bees. I have seen more bees hiding underneath whorls of flowers in the past week than I can ever remember; small wonder given the storms!

My apologies for harking on about rain, but the deep purple whorls of ‘Purple Rain' flowers are particularly attractive to bees at the moment. This plant is reputed to be rabbit resistant, and thanks to a breech in our fencing its resistance is being tested as I write. So far, so good, although the same cannot be said for the various clumps of Phlox which have all undergone not only the Chelsea Chop, but also the Chatsworth Chop courtesy of hungry rabbits. Doubtless they will experience the Hampton Court Chop before long. On the upside, there is plenty in thegarden that remains un-nibbled.

Whorls of tubular Phlomis flowers are already reaching skywards. , which has a UK hardiness rating of H4, buzzes with bees at this time of year. I leave the seedheads on all Phlomis during winter to provide shelter for minibeasts with the added bonus that they look fabulous with a hat of ice or snow on them.

salvia verticillata purple rain 69
Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain'
phlomis italica 0
Phlomis italica
amsonia tabernaemontana 16

Growing plants from seed is one of life's pleasures. I sowed seeds in spring 2017, and they have established well and are flowering beautifully. These little plants with their whorls of lilac flowers cost so little to grow, yet they are a welcome addition to the border with their evergreen, furry leaves and long flowering period. All for the price of a packet of seeds

Apart from the whorls, Geraniums are bursting into flower. I am particularly fond of Geranium phaeum ‘Lily Lovell' for its rich purple flowers which are so beloved of bees, and also the pale blue flowers of Geranium ‘Blue Cloud'.

Amsonia tabernaemontana is another fabulous bee plant which I value for its pale blue flowers.This year it is surrounded by self-sown lupins which I hadn't planned for, but I'm very happy to welcome. They go a long way towards making up for the nibbled Phlox.

geum phaeum lily lovell 59
Geum phaeum ‘Lily Lovell'
amsonia tabernaemontana 16
Amsonia tabernaemontana
astrantia major venice 71

 The most prolific self-sower in my garden (apart from the dandelion) is Astrantia major ‘Venice' These plants are already putting on the show that will last all summer long. I would normally expect to see butterflies as well as bees on Astrantia flowers, but needless to say, this is no weather for butterflies.

I am always interested to read about the plants other gardeners see that are attractive to pollinators, so please do share your recommendations.This post will be linked to https://www.maydreamsgardens.com where gardeners from around the world share what is in flower in their gardens this week. Why not pop over there and take a look?

Sarah Shoesmith is a writer who may be contacted via http://www.sarahshoesmith.com or @gardeningshoe1 on Twitter.