Bees and butterflies

On Friday evening once the girls had been put to bed I caught a really interesting program on TV called ‘Springwatch guide to butterflies and moths‘. It’s available on BBC iplayer for a couple more weeks. This programme was shown to coincide with the Big Butterfly Count which is running from the 20th July – 11th August. What scientists are trying to find out is that by counting the types and numbers of butterflies in the UK this can show how healthy our environment is as butterflies react very quickly to changes in their environment. Needless to say numbers have decreased dramatically, one of the main reasons being urbanisation but also certain types of farming.

Me and my girls love butterflies and Miss E who pronounces them “bubble-eyes” 🙂

The TV show suggested buying some plants to encourage pollinators (bees and butterflies) into the garden, so I consulted the Royal Horticultural Society website and they had a PDF here suggesting plants for your garden.

This afternoon I took myself off to a garden centre and was on the look out for some beautiful flowers that attracted bees. Here’s a helpful tip – if you want plants to attract pollinators then choose the plants that the bees are around in the garden centre. Sounds obvious when you think about it but when I was drawn to the beautiful roses – the bees were not interested…shock!

So I picked up some dahlias.

Roxy Dahlia and bee

Look at this – this bee couldn’t get enough of this ‘Roxy dahlia’, even when I had put it in the trolley.

I got the plants home and repotted them.


Look how happy the ‘Roxy dahlia’ looks…in the distance are the other dahlias I bought.

Happy dahlia

This dahlia is so beautiful (the photo doesn’t show the colours to their best), it’s called ‘Happy flame’.

I’ve situated them where they will get the sun for most of the day. I hope they’ll be happy and produce lots of flowers for the little bees and butterflies.

Another reason for attracting them to the garden is that they’ll pollinate our fruit plants/trees in future years.

This year our blackberry plant is doing really well.

blackberries ripening

The trellis is groaning with blackberries.

1 ripened blackberry

And here is one that has just ripened. Yep it tasted delicious!

We hope to do a lot more with our garden. We tried growing vegetables but weren’t too successful so fruit is the way to go. We feel it’s our duty to bring up our daughters to love and respect nature so by starting now hopefully we’ll set in motion an attitude that will continue for generations to come.


15 thoughts on “Bees and butterflies

  1. Hi Jean!

    I love your Dahlias; I wish I could stop over and see them in person. 🙂 My husband would be in Heaven to have a blackberry bush. Thanks for sharing.

    Love and Hugs, Tamara

    1. Aww thanks. We are really blessed with our fruit. I even caught the girls in the garden up a stool stuffing their faces with blackberries 🙂

  2. What a super idea of having a trellis of blackberries, so attractive. So glad you are encouraging the bees- our garden is full of them- at the moment they are most attracted to the clover flowers growing in the grass!

  3. I was so lucky to grow up with parents who grew vegetables and fruit – they still grow fruit. Your girls are very lucky! Thanks for the link to the plant list, we’re rebuilding our garden and it;s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

  4. Ah, growing veggies – in my experience potatoes are good, onions are good, courgettes are good, runner beans are good, the rest – hit and miss! You can get a good crop of runner beans from a big tub with some poles in. We have harvested several kg’s of strawberries this year with very little effort from us. Likewise the red currants and gooseberries. Good luck with the growing – no doubt your girls will get to love it.

  5. Dahlias are so beautiful I don’t plant them myself as they must be dug up each fall as our winters are too cold for them to survive. If you have a large enough area you could try a butterfly bush. They are late summer/fall blooming and are gorgeous. I also like lambs ears for attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

  6. Oh, Jean, there is almost nothing like the English gardens…your blackberries are divine. That was quite interesting about the bee on the Dahlia. You chose a beauty. I think what you’re doing is grand.

    Little Miss E’s pronunciation of butterflies is a pure delight and I’m still smiling about it.

    May your garden be doubly blessed,
    Marianne xo

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