Last updated: 18th February 2020
Around the sandy coast where I live, there are many wild rose shrubs growing around the dunes, as well as naturalised Beach Roses (Rosa rugosa). Bees are very active visiting both. Wild roses and Rosa rugosa have lovely open flowers, and fewer petals than some of the heavily cultivated varieties. Indeed, as a general rule of thumb, if you want to select roses that will attract bees, it's best to go for the older, traditional types, with more open flowers, fewer petals - and often they will have a lovely scent.
Bees visit the roses especially to collect the
pollen. The buzzing of bumble bees can be
quite loud as they typically grab hold of the anthers and vibrate their thorax against them to release the
Honey bees and various solitary bee species are also keen to gather pollen from the bountiful anthers of wild roses and Rosa rugosa.
During my visit to the coast and walking around the village where I live, I have observed many bees on Rosa rugosa and on wild roses. Suffice to say I have on several occasions passed some very relaxed, happy hours on sunny days simply observing the bees, and here are a few more snaps from some of the time spent:
Wild roses can be climbers, or stand alone shrubs as with their cultivated relatives. Wild roses are sometimes called ‘dog roses’ but this name actually refers to the climbing wild rose, Rosa canina. However, the term ‘wild rose’ also includes other roses, for example Rosa acicularis, Rosa woodsii, Rosa arkansana, Rosa virginiana.
Rosa rugosa is one of my favourite flowering garden shrubs for bees. I love both the pink and white varieties available. It's a wonderfully decorative bush, and it has a fairly long flowering period. The fragrance from the flowers is absolutely divine, and even the rose hips are a wonderful sight: they look like large, glossy red balls that have been slightly squashed! The prickly stems make them an excellent protective boundary shrub too.
Some of these pictures were taken a little way down the road from where I live. These rose bushes form part of the boundary hedge, and the owner has used both pink and white varieties. Other types of shrub are mixed in too, such as hawthorn, privet and sloes. Having had a number of chats with the owner of the garden, it's very clear he plans the space with wildlife in mind. His garden attracts bees (solitary, bumble and honey bees), small voles and plenty of birds.
You'll most probably see a variety of flies - including hover flies, inside the flower heads of roses, as well as a range of beetles of various sizes.
One of my favourites is this handsome fella - the thick- legged flower beetle. This lovely pollinating beetle is notable for its beautiful metallic green body.