Bee friends with those pesky weeds

An article in the Guardian caught my eye and highlighted research  published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution that shows bees favourite flowers include, amongst other things, brambles, buttercups and dandelions. In other words, we need to make a bit of room for weeds in our gardens and allotments.

The research shows that gardens and allotments, particularly in urban areas, are pollinator ‘hotspots’ and that many of the insects favourite flowers are often the weeds we spend so much of our life as gardeners trying to banish. Those favourites include:

  • Autumn hawkbit (Scorzoneroides autumnalis)
  • Borage (Borago officinalis)
  • Bramble/blackberry (Rubus fruticosus agg.)
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)
  • Cat’s ear (Hypochaeris radicata)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum spp.)
  • Common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)
  • Common marigold (Calendula officinalis)
  • Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
  • Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, L. latifolia and hybrids)
  • Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
  • Wood avens (Geum urbanum)

So perhaps it might be a good idea if we all set aside a small part of our gardens and allotments for weeds and plant more pollinator attracting plants. Of course it means a bit more work weeding elsewhere but that is a small price to pay if it helps arrest the decline of our pollinator populations on whom we all rely.

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