Gardening for wildlife – a 12 month calendar

Although it might not feel like it right now: Spring is around the corner. With Spring comes planting and this is where you can make a massive different for our pollinators.
One project would be to plant a "Bee restaurant" with one flowering plant for every month of the year. If you don't have a border free for something like this, why not get 12 biggish plant pots? Here are some ideas. Any perennials will do better in bigger pots as their roots will take up more space than an annual:

Winter honeysuckle – Needs to be fed and watered to survive in a pot. This is a climber that can reach up over 2.5 metres in height and so provide it with a climb frame. Will flower till spring. As a bonus it produces berries in the autumn.
Wild deadnettle (Lamium) - The dead in the name refers to its lack of sting. Will flower from end of January all the way till November
Mahonia – This Winter flowering scented evergreen shrub also produces berries which are enjoyed by birds

Helleborus – This little beauty is evergreen and loves a shady, not too windy spot in your garden.
Crocus – Someone described this as a perfect plant for the “keen but clueless” as it is a VERY easy little bulb to grow.
Snowdrops – Beautiful little perennial with small white flower.

Ajuga reptans (Bugle) – Flowers till mid May. This plant with its attractive foliage is excellent in pots, containers and hanging baskets all the year round. Flowers blue or pink depending on variety
Pulmonaria – Can sometimes start flowering as early as February and will keep going to April.
Primula – Very hardy little beauty.

Chives - Will flower in April/May. Herbaceous perennial plant.
Cornflower – Will flower late April all the way to late summer.
Lotus cornicalatus – Flowers till mid September

Achillea – Flowers until September. Very pretty foliage and the flowers are extremely attractive to pollinators
Cow parsley – Will flower till July
Calendula (Pot Marigold) – Will flower continuously throughout the summer until the first frosts.

Borage - Will flower till September. In mild weather it will continue to flower most of the year. Self seeding annual. Intensely blue star-shaped flowers which can also be added to salads or frozen in ice cubes for your Pimms!
Lavender - Will flower from late spring. Wonderfully fragrant.
Snap dragons – Will flower till September

Hyssop - Will flower sometimes as early as June all the way through to early autumn.
Buddleia – Amazing shrub with beautiful flowers and nicknamed "the butterfly bush" as it attracts so many of them! Requires a very big pot.
Blue sea holly (Eryngium) – Will flower till September

Anemone – Will flower till late October
Cosmos - Feathery foliage and large single flowers. In the UK it is grown as an annual as is frost-tender
Hollyhock – The dwarf varieties will survive in a pot. The larger ones will struggle if the pot is not big enough. Also remember that traditional will grow up to 6ft tall so need stakes

Ivy – Ivy is one of my all time favourite plants. It comes in all shades of green and is a fantastic plant for wildlife, both for nectar and nesting depending on size. It does take a few year before the Ivy produces flowers.
Salvia – As with all herbs having them in your garden will provide both you and pollinators with food
Ice plant - Will do best in full sun and does not like to stay damp for long periods.

Abelia – This is another evergreen plant that will produce both flowers and berries. As most shrubs it will do best if you give it some space so a very small pot is not recommended.
Rudbeckia – Prefers to have some room so don’t overcrowd and this plant will do well in a pot. Make sure it is fast draining.
Autumn Crocus – This will keep flowering sometime as early as September all the way to November.

Perennial wallflower – Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' flowers for most of the year and is very easy to grow. Sarcococca hookeriana – Will flower all the way to March and then produce berries. Highly fragrant flowers.
Viburnum tinus – Also produce berries but remember that the berries are bad for humans. Birds however love them! Will need a big pot

Winter aconite – Will do well in a pot.
Common Gorse – Will provide nectar all through the year. As most shrubs it will need a bigger pot.
Winter flowering cherry – Since this is a tree it will need a substantial pot to be able to survive.

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