Updated: 7th February 2021
If you are wanting to include plants to attract bees in your garden, it's easy to forget about trees, shrubs and hedgerows! Yet they provide a number of benefits relating to food and shelter for different species.
Now, if you are looking for general lists of garden plants, herbs, wildflowers, or fruit and vegetables for bees, please visit this page. There there are links to further articles and general thoughts about organic gardening etc, at the bottom of this page.
But for now, back to trees, shrubs and hedgerows.
Firstly, trees, hedgerows and shrubs can provide nesting opportunities for bees, which may make their nests in abandoned rodent holes found at the base of a shrub, or in crevices and holes within the bark of a tree trunk, or hollow twigs.
Secondly, they also provide excellent
foraging potential. A
decent sized shrub may be densely covered in nectar and pollen-rich
This means foraging is
efficient, requiring less energy for the bees to fly about in search of
sources of food.
Even the hollow stems of shrubs can be useful to bees. Tiny solitary bees may overwinter or make nests in them. For example, the tiny harebell carpenter bee is only about 6 or 7mm in size and can easily be mistaken for a little black fly. It may create its nests in hollow stems of plants (or even in woodworm and beetle holes).
Bumble bees meanwhile,
may take cover in piles of fallen leaves.
The lesson is, please take
care when tidying your garden. Perhaps hollow shrub stems could be
collected and placed in a corner of the garden or behind the shed rather than burned, for
Furthermore, as the bees pollinate the flowers, the flowers develop into fruits, berries and nuts, which are then enjoyed by humans, of course, but also birds and small mammals.
For me, there is nothing better than to watch wildlife in the garden - it provides entertainment, wonder, and sometimes a bit of natural garden "pest control".
Remember that in some cases, it will also
be possible to underplant your trees and shrubs with yet more plants to
attract to bees, such as Snake's head fritillary, bluebells, and other
Acacia (A. dealbata & A. longifolia)
Willow (Salix) - provide an early source of pollen
Flowering Currant (Ribes)
Alder (A. cordata; A.incana; A. glutinosa)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)
Winter Honeysuckle climber great for hedgerows (Lonicera fragrantissima and Lonicera purpussii)
Hazels - Corylus (C. avellana, C. maxima) great trees for bees, especially for pollen
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
Wild cherry (Prunus avium)
Sour cherry (Prunus cerasus)
Joshino cherry (Prunus xyeodensis)
Bird cherry (Prunus padus)
Mountain ash (Sorbus)
Wild roses and Rosa rugosa
Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)
Cotoneaster - various species
American lilac (Ceanothus)
June Berry (Snowy mespilus)
Wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana)
Common Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Lime trees - but select careful, because some lime trees are toxic for, or have narcotic effects on bees
Read my page Winter Flowering Shrubs For Bees
Chinese Euodia (Tetradium daniellii hupehensis)
Ivy - Hedera helix
Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)
Sweet box - Sarcococca confusa
Daphne bholua Jaqueline Postill
Mahonia - Oregon grape
Try to rethink your use of pesticides. Did you know, most insect species are harmless or beneficial?
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