Brilliant bee-friendly biennials for your garden


By Quince Honey

Brilliant biennials – sow now for a better bee-friendly garden next spring and summer.

Biennials can play a vital role in the bee-friendly garden, Head Gardener Rebecca explains…

We just love biennials here in the Nectar Gardens, these somewhat overlooked plants can be really beneficial to bees, providing much needed sustenance in the form of nectar and pollen at a time of year when there may be little else around.

To effectively support bees in your own gardens you should ultimately aim to provide a continuous supply of nectar, ideally have some flowers blooming at all times throughout the year. Many biennials are really useful in helping achieve this goal by providing vital nectar rich flowers early in the year and also filling the difficult gap between the last of the spring bulbs and when the early perennials begin to flower.

The seeds of biennials are sown directly in the nursery beds during the month of June here, their root system develops during the first year and then they are all fit and ready to burst into flower in the spring / early summer of their second year.  Although we do have to wait a little longer for the rewards compared to sowing annuals, a garden full of colour so early in the season means it really is worth the wait!

Our favourites include the wonderful English Wallflower, Wallflowers are really the harbingers of spring in the garden, flowering from late February they fill the air with their sweet fragrance and are regularly visited by honeybees and emerging bumblebee queens. We grow the tall Erysimum cheiri ‘Cloth of Gold’ and ‘Ivory White’.

Other brilliant biennials we grow in our Nectar Gardens are Honesty (Lunaria annua) particularly loved for its iridescent seedpods which follow its pretty flowers, Sweet Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus), all of which bloom their hearts out throughout late spring and early summer.

So, if you are wondering what steps you can take to help bees in your garden next year, why not at have a go at sowing some biennial seeds?

Happy sowing and growing!

The Nectar Garden’s Flower Seed Collection in now available in our shop at Quince Honey Farm, open daily 9:30am-5pm.

Sowing tips: Biennials are easy to grow from seed.  Best sown in the summer months, biennial seed can be sown directly into a fine weed free seedbed or sown into seed trays, pricking out and potting on as required.  The plants can then be moved to their flowering location in autumn.

Blog written by Rebecca Flay, Head Gardener at Quince Honey Farm


comments for this post are closed