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On the menu for... June 2017

There is so much forage available in the countryside surrounding my home that I am amazed to see pollinators showing interest in my borders in June. New garden flowers are opening daily and proving their wildlife credentials by attracting a plethora of pollinators. If I were to list all the star performers this could be the longest post in the history of The Hardy Plant Society, so I will pick out a handful of wonderful plants proving popular with our wilder friends.

I am beginning to suspect that there is no such thing as too many delphiniums. Every year I see a spot (this year the spot extends to an entire border), that could do with a Delphinium or three. The same applies to geraniums. Both can be wonderful in their single forms for pollinators, so I don’t feel entirely indulgent when yet another plant leaps unbidden into my shopping trolley.

The pincushion flowers of Astrantia and Scabiosa are really coming into their own. Astrantia major ‘Venice’ is particularly popular at the moment, as is Scabiosa caucasica ‘Miss Willmott’. I would not want to be without Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’, which is not only massively attractive to butterflies, but also to bees. It has a long flowering period, and is especially lovely in June.

Astrantia major 'Venice'

Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'

I am extremely impressed with Allium ‘Ambassador’ and Allium ‘Mont Blanc’. Their huge globes of flowers held atop 1.2 metre high stems have withstood the battering of recent storms and are almost constantly abuzz with bees.

Allium 'Ambassador'

Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ 

Top pollinator magnet, Nepeta, is flowering its socks off. I tend to stick to Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ for mass planting in the borders as I have always found it to be very well behaved. For smaller spaces, I favour tiny Nepeta nervosa ‘Blue Moon’; bees love them both.

It is the time of year for seemingly wall-to-wall open gardens and flower shows with their opportunities to discover new plants and delightful planting schemes. At The RHS Chelsea Flower Show the lupins were divine, so hopefully more people will be inspired to try growing some. I love watching bees working lupins. The plants self-sow readily, and one of my favourite gardening tasks is to find new homes for the latest offspring.

At The RHS Chatsworth Show, the wind and rain might have kept the pollinators at bay, and the closure of the marquees might have curtailed my plans for a spot of plant retail therapy, but nothing could prevent me from compiling a shopping list. If I manage to buy every plant on that list, next June will be even better for the pollinators in my garden; and yes, there will be more delphiniums. I am always interested to hear about the plants attracting pollinators in other gardeners’ gardens, so please let me know if you have a plant that I should grow.

I will link this post to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, hosted by where you can find links to see the plants that are blooming in gardens around the planet this week.



Posted by Sarah Shoesmith

Sarah Shoesmith is a garden writer who blogs at .
She may be contacted via or @gardeningshoe1 on Twitter

2 Comments To "On the menu for... June 2017"

Angie @ Sirène Flowers On 20.06.2017
These are beautiful images and I love your narrative. I actually feel like I'm walking with you through the garden. Lupine-- oh I have so much new love for them. Last year we went on our honeymoon trip to Two Harbors by Lake Superior and the entire way from Duluth, MN to Two Harbors the road sides were covered in purple Lupine. It was an amazing sight. And I fell in love with them then and there Reply to this comment
Lea's Menagerie On 20.06.2017
Purple flowers and yellow butterflies - very pretty! Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day! Reply to this comment
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