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On the menu for... July 2017

One of the many joys of visiting flower shows, nurseries and open gardens is discovering which ofthe many plants blooming to perfection attract the most attention from pollinators. At RHS Hampton Court there is an extensive smörgåsbord of delights on offer for butterflies, bees, moths and hoverflies, so while meeting new must-have plants and marvelling at the show gardens, I have been keeping an eye out to see which flowers get the most attention from pollinators. 

The schemes with larger groupings of the same plants are particularly popular, the exception being Scabious. I have spotted relatively few at the show, and even though they are placed sparsely, they are smothered with bees and butterflies. 

Eryngium is as popular with pollinators as ever, although the white and green forms at HamptonCourt are less so. In my garden, Eryngium bourgatii ‘Picos Blue’ is top of the popularity charts with hoverflies and bees at the moment. 


Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ is smothered with bees in my garden at home, and it is no different on Tom Massey’s garden for Perennial. Given that there is so much forage available on his show garden, and the plants are arranged in large groups, it is particularly interesting to see Veronicastrum holding its own. 

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ 

Verbena bonariensis 

Verbena bonariensis is a butterfly magnet. They love it! Proof, were it needed, is to be found in the Colour Box Garden, where butterflies sit prettily on the flowers, adding additional splashes of colour to the vibrant planting. 

One of the reasons I love hardy plants is that I lament the demise of tender perennials at the end ofthe summer. A plant I have never grown for this very reason is the wonderful pollinator magnet, Lantana. This is set to change after I was introduced to Lantana ‘Miss Huff’ on the Mandy Plants display. ‘Miss Huff’ is hardy down to -12 and is hugely popular with pollinators. Needless to say, it has catapulted to the top of my must-have list.

Lantana ‘Miss Huff’ 

I am always interested to hear about flowers sustaining pollinators in other gardeners’ gardens.
Please let me know your recommendations. 


Posted by Sarah Shoesmith

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

1 Comments To "On the menu for... July 2017"

Paul Steer On 12.07.2017
It is good to encourage pollinators - but it is even more important to realise our native butterflies spend a significant percentage of their lives as caterpillars dependent on plants we remove from gardens. Nettles and rough grasses alone being responsible for supporting many of our natives. I'm not an expert - I have learnt much from Butterfly Conservation. But I believe that even small gardens like mine can begin to make a big impact on our butterfly population if we make gardens a little less manicured - but no less beautiful. Reply to this comment
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