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On the Menu for ... May 2018 at 'Chelsea'

On the Menu for Pollinators at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Despite a challenging winter and spring, the growers and exhibitors at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 have succeeded in bringing together a beautiful array of flowers grown to perfection. With so many delights on offer, which plants do bees go for? And for those of us on the lookout for something a little different, are there new plants to suit us as well as pollinators? 

Baptisia ‘Dutch Chocolate’

Lupinus ‘Beefeater’ and L. 'Desert Sun'

The Seedlip Garden, planted entirely with members of the pea family, is a good starting point. Famed for attracting pollinators, a garden of peas must surely be bee heaven. Certainly Baptisia ‘Dutch Chocolate’ is popular, as are some lupins - they seem to be everywhere at Chelsea 2018! It appears that not all lupins are created equal in the eyes of bees though. Lupinus ‘Beefeater’ and L. ‘Desert Sun’ are magnets, while the sumptuous flowers of L. ‘Masterpiece’ are left well alone. 

I always associate centaureas and roses with Chelsea. This year, Centaurea montana ‘Black Sprite’ and Rosa glauca have caught my eye for being popular with bees. Salvia continues to hold its own amongst the delicious smorgasbord of flowers on offer, particularly Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’ and Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’. 

Centaurea montana ‘Black Sprite’

Salvia x sylvestris ‘Mainacht’

Looking to the future, Gaillardia ‘Honey Apricot’ looks like it might very well be a winner for pollinators and for us. There were a few of its soft apricot flowers open on the Monday of the show, but there are plenty of buds waiting to open, so if you’re visiting later in the week you may get to enjoy it in full bloom. Polemonium yezoense ‘Kaleidoscope’ with cream variegated foliage tinged with pink, and gorgeous purple flowers so saturated with colour that my camera hardly does them justice, is another promising plant for those of us who garden with wildlife in mind. Both have been launched at Chelsea this year by Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants. 

Gaillardia ‘Honey Apricot’

Polemonium yezoense ‘Kaleidoscope’

Eryngium ‘Blue Waves’, launched by Hillier at Chelsea 2018, has been awarded second place in the Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year. A cross between E. bourgatii and E. alpinum, it has strong, upright stems and large bracts, and promises to be a valuable addition to the border for gardeners and pollinators alike. 

It is always a pleasure to attend the Chelsea Flower Show, but when the sun shines and pollinators make the most of the flowers on offer, it lifts the show to a new level. Whether you are attending the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, or spending time in your own garden, do please let me know about the flowers that are attracting pollinators. I would love to hear from you.


Posted by Sarah Shoesmith

Sarah Shoesmith is a garden writer who blogs at http://www.thegardeningshoe.blogspot.com .
She may be contacted via http://www.sarahshoesmith.com or @gardeningshoe1 on Twitter

1 Comments To "On the Menu for ... May 2018 at 'Chelsea'"

Green Fingered Blogger On 24.05.2018
Ceanothus is absolutely humming with all sorts of bees and other pollinators right now! Reply to this comment
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