Plants that not only attract bees but can also act as deterrents to garden pests.
Basil is an annual herb that thrives in the warmer season and repels asparagus beetles and flies. Basil is a good companion for asparagus, tomatoes and most vegetables. Basil produces sprays of bee attracting flowers in late summer and autumn.
Borage is a delightful herb with pretty blue flowers that are very attractive bees. Borage is an excellent provider of organic potassium, calcium and other natural minerals. Borage leaves have the taste of cucumber and makes a delicious, healthy drink. Grown as a border for strawberry beds, borage will ward off disease and produce bigger and better tasting fruit.
Coriander is a tall annual herb resembling parsley. It has a reputation for repelling aphids and is a good companion to anise, dill and chervil. Growing these herbs in rows between carrots and cabbages will protect them from these pests. When in blossom coriander is attractive to bees.
Dill is good to grow with fennel and coriander. Carrots and tomatoes benefit from having it close by as it repels pests but it should be pulled out before it flowers. If left to mature it can greatly reduce that crop. Bees are attracted to its flowers and it’s a good companion to cabbage improving its growth and health.
Lavender attracts bees which will benefit every garden. A bowl of dried lavender in the room gives a clean background fragrance and moths hate it. Where lavender is grown very few ticks are found and it is also effective as a mouse repellent.
Lemon Balm often referred to as the ‘Bee Herb’ is famous for its delightful lemon scented leaves. Useful for making tea to calm the nervous system and stimulate the heart, it makes a refreshing, delicious drink for hot weather and as a relaxing tea may dispel headaches and migraines. Ideal as a border for the veggie patch, though unfortunately can be untidy.
Nasturtiums (orange coloured) in the veggie garden will repel aphids and are particularly good for giving radish a good hot taste. They also keep away the cucumber beetle. Nasturtiums are known to control the spread of woolly aphids when grown under apple trees. Grown in a greenhouse, nasturtiums will protect plants against white-fly. Both the bee-attracting flowers and the leaves are edible.
Phacelia’s fascinating lilac-blue flowerheads are renowned for attracting beneficial garden insects such as bees and hoverflies. These improve pollination and provide natural pest control. Plant this hardy annual in drifts or dotted amongst other plants.
Sage was originally used medicinally in stuffing and meats to make them more digestible. We have now grown to like the flavour and do not realize we are taking a herbal remedy. Sage protects carrots against carrot-fly and cabbages against the cabbage moth, making the cabbage plants more succulent and tasty. Sage is a good companion with rosemary but do not plant near cucumbers or rue. Sage is also good for attracting bees. .
Salvia (Summer Lavender) Beautiful compact plants, bearing an abundance of flower spikes with contrasting soft green foliage. Most impressive if mass planted. Flowers attract bees, especially the blue flowering variety.