A Christmas border for the bees may sound a bit odd, as bees (and other pollinators) are snuggled up in their hives during the cold months, however, there will be some bees and other insects that will go foraging for food and water, so providing winter flowering plants in your border is a must! Plus, it cheers us up too – a double win!
Bulbs such as snowdrops and crocuses are loved by bees and are great to pop into any gaps in the border. They’re brilliant for early colour and can be bought ‘in the green’ in pots from your local garden centre, although this costs more than buying bulbs, it does mean you can see where the gaps are and can fill the borders easily without digging up any other later flowering bulbs. Buy single flowers rather than doubles as its easier for the bees to get to the pollen.
Ivy is also loved by pollinators – their flowers are great for festive floral decorations too, so although it does have a reputation for taking over, it can be a useful groundcover and hiding unsightly walls.
Hedera helix ‘White Wonder’ –
this is a lovely, variegated leaf which can be used to trail over the edges of hanging baskets, window boxes and patio pots. When it starts to grow and mature it is ideal for smothering a north-facing wall or fence, where it will look good all through the year.
Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’
is a winter flowering version that will grow to around 5m tall and 2m wide and prefers full sun but equally happy in partial shade. It flowers from December to February with large creamy coloured scented flowers. It looks great growing over a pergola or obelisk. The flowers will become attractive seedheads too. Although this clematis doesn’t need much pruning, keep it in shape by cutting back any long shoots straight after flowering and add a layer of organic matter to the base of the plant.
Helleborus niger ‘Christmas Carol’ –
these are a personal favourite! There are so many colours and varieties to choose from and make a great gift in pots and are ideal for tablescaping the patio or porch. They grow to around 30cm tall and prefer partial shade. This variety will flower from December to March and look fabulous when planted in swathes. Their leaves are semi-evergreen and if they get Hellebore leaf spot, (which is a blackened spots) simply cut the leaves off at the ground and add a layer of organic matter around the plant.
Sarcococca hookeriana humilis –
commonly known as Christmas Box. This is an evergreen shrub which has delicate white scented flowers from December to February. It’s a brilliant shrub for a shady spot, but if you can plant it next to a path you will appreciate the lovely scent as you walk past. After flowering it will produce shiny black berries which are loved by birds. It grows to around 1m tall.
If you buy juvenile plants, you will be able to create a winter container with them. Pop them into the border once the soil has started to warm up. It really depends on the weather/ground conditions where you live – ie if the ground is frozen and waterlogged, its best to wait to plant a border until the frost has passed.
It is so important to provide a food source for our bees and pollinators all year round. According to the Soil Association:
- 35% of UK bee species will become extinct if we continue to use pesticides and other harmful chemicals – we simply need to sow and grow more plants and flowers.
- On average, for every 10% increase in bee-friendly habitats, bee and wildlife numbers increase by a third!
- As bee numbers decline, so too do other pollinators, like hoverflies, small birds and mammals.
- With 1 in 10 species of UK wildlife already facing extinction, its more important than ever to create bee-friendly habitats.
We can Save Our Bees before it’s too late.
If you’re unsure how to make a butterfly and bee friendly garden, use a ready-made garden design kit which contains the planting plan for a beautiful border which enables you to create a professionally designed garden easily in less than a day. Every plant in this design is loved by butterflies and bees and is approved by the RHS for Pollinators.
Click here for more information – https://borderinabox.com/product/butterflies-bees-ready-made-garden-border/