Easy perennials for pollinators

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The classic British cottage garden is largely based upon perennial herbaceous planting. Within this group are, as we all know, some absolute show stoppers. Yet a select few  require minimum attention, but give their everything when it comes to impact during flowering. These you won't need to worry about during the cold depths of winter, the slugs won't munch away at them over night and their flower stems will not be snapped during windy weather.

While I am all for nurturing a few delicate plants I could not be without these no worry staples its important to have a garden with a good stock of such plants that you can depend upon  and best of all the bees adore them – here are my top 4 choices for mid to late summer colour!

1. Aconitum napellus Aconitum napellus

I love monkshoods. The blooms upon the tall stems are the most sought after dark peacock neck blue, and as one fades another opens. They give the stature of a delphinium, but come without any of their fuss. Staking is not normally needed and nor is slug protection. It does best in some shade and do not forget that despite it being a nectar bar, it is a poisonous plant!

2. Cirsium rivulare Cirsium rivulare

This is always seen at Chelsea flower show but not seen that much in people's gardens; I have no idea why as Cirsium rivulare is one of the most longest flowering plants in our shady garden. My first plant of this I ordered from Sarah Raven, to my delight it flowered in its first season and each summer it sends up more tall flowering stems. I'm planting more of it this year as the bees cannot get enough of it flying to and from its blooms dawn till dusk.

3. Echinops Echinops

Bees will favour the globe thistle above all others in the border when it is in flower. Within a couple of years a good solid clump will have formed that will send up many green globe buds that will then turn blue into August as they start to bloom. They like full sun and make good cut flowers too. Seed heads will be enjoyed by visiting finches.

 4. Japanese anemone The recently bred pretty lady types are shorter than the more common taller ones extending their use and location within the border. They are a must for autumn giving valuable blotches of colour. Their bloom shades are either light/rich pinks or pure whites all with deep yellow centres in a beautiful delicate form giving pollinators a much needed last orders feast before winters chill sets in. They will happily spread but don't dig them up as they resent being disturbed so let them creep as they wish.

What are your favourite perennials for pollinators?

Thanks for reading,

arthur