July 4th, 2012 by Royal Horticultural Society
Bees and other pollinating insects will benefit from a new guide produced by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
Following last year’s very popular list of pollinator-friendly cultivated plants the charity is launching a follow-up list covering wild flowers useful as nectar and/or pollen sources for insects. Many of these native plants can be used in cultivated areas.
The RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ initiative, with its distinctive logo, has attracted a huge amount of interest.
Garden centres across the country have seen an increase in demand for pollinator-friendly plants indicated by the logo. This new list has been produced to satisfy the growing interest in planting wild flowers in gardens and the growth in wild flower planting advice requests that the RHS Advisory Service receives from its members.
“Gardens are now increasingly recognised as important environments for maintaining biodiversity,” Jim Gardiner, RHS Director of Horticulture, said.
“By planting a broad diversity of plants gardeners can do a lot to encourage pollinating insects which, in turn, will bring in other forms of wildlife into their gardens such as birds and hedgehogs.”
The new wildflower list, which contains over 200 plants, breaks the list down to certain habitats that occur or can be created in gardens.
These habitats include three forms of grassland areas, ponds and wet soils, gravel-based soil and hedges and woodland edge. Last year’s list of cultivated garden plants has also been extended and now includes more than 400 plants
Over the past 50 years certain insects groups, such as butterflies and bees, have been in decline.
This is due to several factors but part of the problem is the decline of wild flowers in the countryside. Gardens, with their variety of plants that are in flower throughout the year, are seen as an increasingly important habitat to help these declining groups of insects.
The RHS gives advice on a number of ways that gardeners can help insects.
One important step is to consult the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ lists and choose plants from these lists.
The two ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ lists can be downloaded from the RHS website.
When selecting plants the charity advises planting schemes that have plants that will provide flowers throughout the seasons.
Avoid plants that have double or multi-petal flowers as the extra petals often replace the pollen-producing parts of the flower and may make the nectar inaccessible.