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Assisting wildlife by planting

Gardens do not need to be filled with thistles, dandelions and stinging nettles in order to help the creatures that are dying because of global warming.  Whether you like the look of a formal garden or a managed wilderness there are ways to have colour, form and interest as well as encouraging more visitors to your plot.  This folder contains lists of plants that may help you to improve the value of your area by selecting the plants that are known to be good sources of food for pollinators.

Garden flowers

Most of these bloom in the summer months when the greatest numbers of insects and birds are about.  The open-flowered varieties give easy access to pollen and nectar whereas the double versions do not.  Some varieties produce no pollen.  For various reasons petunias, begonias, the popular scarlet geraniums, and pansies are useless for insects so avoid them.

Wild flowers

These plants are usually hardy, easy to grow and excellent as sources of food as well as being colourful.  They can be grown against hedges.  The perennials tend to bloom a month earlier than the annuals and are at their most prolific in the summer.

Flowering shrubs

This collection will provide colour and forage for 12 months of the year and so these plants are vital to support bees and other insects that do not hibernate in the winter.

Trees and hedges

This list of larger plants has been chosen because they carry huge numbers of blooms as well as many other benefits for insects, birds and mammals.

This information is based on knowledge gained by growing plants for wildlife in this area, carrying out monthly surveys of bumblebee activity, and extensive reading of the literature.

                             Adrian Doble PhD. (WildCookham,  The Bumblebee Conservation Trust)

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