Bumblebees Love Escallonia

It's very encouraging that so many people are keen to help the bees by providing lots of flowers and shrubs upon which they can feed.


I received one query from a gentleman in London, England regarding the identification of a particular species of shrub.  It happened to be one of my favourite shrubs for bees - Escallonia:


Image from Mr Raymond Winslow

"I live in Balham, SW17, and have responsibility for one of the front gardens and have reached a stage where I can now think about what to do, for the immediate and longer term future of attracting bees to this garden.

 

I'm planning to discover the name of a flowering shrub that attracts loads of buff-tailed bumblebees in May and June, in Reading Street, near Broadstairs, Kent and if possible, plant one of these shrubs in my front garden.

 

I've left a photograph of the shrub with the RHS, having requested identification from them.

 

If anyone has an idea of where I might purchase such a shrub then please contact me via www.buzzaboutbees.net.

 

Is red clover another plant that attracts bees?  I read about this plant at Wakefield Place recently, as part of a display about meadows."



My response:


Dear Raymond

Good to hear that you are intending to help bees with bee friendly plants and shrub!

The photograph you sent, I'm pretty sure, is Escallonia.  It is certainly a lovely shrub for bees, and provides very useful food during the spring, although some varieties flower through summer and autumn.  They may be seen in crimson and deep red colours as well as white and pink.


And yes, red clover (and white clover!) is also loved by bees.



Escallonia is an evergreen shrub and can be grown in full sun or partial shade.  It will grow up to 4 metres high but could take anywhere between 10 and 20 years to reach this height.

Our neighbour has an Escallonia bush, and every spring it is covered in bumblebees - it definitely seems to be a bumblebee favourite.

You can read more on my pages about gardening for bees, including lists of plants, trees, herbs, wildflowers and shrubs for bees here.



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Gardeners Beware!


Did you know?  Bees love lime trees - but some imports are believed to be toxic for bees!

Read more

Excerpt from 'A Sting In The Tale' by Professor Dave Goulson (also author of Bumblebee Behaviour And Ecology):

Page 128:

"Buff-tailed and white tailed bumblebees love the flowers of lime trees, although there is something in the nectar which seems to make them dopey and even sometimes kill them".