One of the first jobs I did on the wildlife plot was to remove the raspberries from the bed at the side backing onto the outdoor area of Gorfin Hall. They had run halfway across the plot and I just don't have the time to keep something like that under control. So, out they came and in went a sour cherry donated to the plot. I wasn't sure what to do with the bed so left it partly covered in plastic and  grass and leaves to reduce the bindweed and waited for inspiration to occur. Sometimes it can take a long time!

Last week I read an article in Gardeners' World magazine by Rosi Rollings who has identified her top 12 plants for bees. Rosi has a nursery and undertakes research into the plants that bees like best alongside Dave Goulson a professor at Sussex University. For the magazine article Rosi planted reported on her six year  research counting the number of bees per square metre on each plant and sharing with us which plants had the highest number of bees over time.

In the cherry tree bed, I am going to plant from the list that Rosi recommends as I have some of these plants in my garden and I can grow others from seed or get cuttings and divisions from friends.

Read on to find the 3 best plants to use if you are short of space and see all 12 if you have a bigger area.


I have already identified that on the wildlife plot Vinca major, Skimmia japonica and Cotoneaster horizontalis have been the most popular with June's favourite plant being Echium vulgare. The bees shove their heads into the centre of the flowers, leaving just their little bottoms hanging out making it much easier for me to start to identify them. This is mostly planted near the apple tree and combines well with the dusky pink potentilla next to it.

I grew the Echium from seed so I am hoping that it will self-seed and there will always be some hanging around the plot each year. This plant also appears on Rosi's top 12 so we are off to a good start.







If you only have a small space, Rosi recommends Borage,  white-flowered oregano and Geranium 'Rozanne' as the best bee attractors.


On the plot we have a lot of oregano, too much probably and until it flowers I don't know what colour it is, and I think one of the Geranium's might be Rozanne so we are off to an excellent start. Strangely, we don't have any Borage but I have mountains of it at home so can transplant some seedlings.

The other eight top flowers  that I will plant around the cherry tree are: 

Nepeta racemosa, Helenium autumnale and Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'


 Stachys byzantina, Lavandula 'Grosso' and 'Edelweiss' with Wild Marjoram as the final plant.


It isn't really the right time to take cuttings or divisions just yet, another month perhaps, so the bed will have to sit empty until the autumn/winter when the plants have grown a bit and are big enough to put out. Here's hoping for a bed that buzzes next summer.