My favourite flowers – for me, for bees and for lots of other lovely insects

I may have many other ‘favourite’ plants beside these, but these three are if you like, my favourite of favourites for being utterly lovely, attracting bees and many, many other insects and they need as many as we can possibly provide for them.

Spring us just about upon us and many of us will be busy planning and planting in the coming weeks.  To feed as many bees and other insects please include these three lovely members of the apiaciae family (previously known as umbellifers):

Fennel – the herb rather than the vegetable.  I have large clumps along a path and the plants are literally buzzing through the summer.


Fennel and carrot in long border summer 2014

Carrot has the most remarkable number of individual flowers on each head and is incredibly beautiful.  For flowers this year, plant a carrot, for flowers next year sow some seed and leave the plants over the winter, they won’t die!

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Carrot in flower

Flat leafed parsley – plants purchased this year may be in either their first or their second year of growth; if they don’t flower this year, leave them in to do so next year.  Seeds sown this year will flower next year.  If you let even one plant go to seed as I did in this border you will eventually have an absolute mass of plants all flowering together which is one of the most loveliest sights I have ever seen.

Flat leafed parsley in flower

There are lots of other plants in this family which are all similarly attractive to bees and other insects.  Early in the year there is sweet cicely and angelica which can be sown this year for flowering next year.  I should have seeds of both to spare from my plants later on this spring or summer – leave a comment for me if you would like some.

DSCN6178 angelica 24 April 2014

Angelica about to flower


KODAK Digital Still Camera

Sweet cicely

About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Borderland Garden, Flowers, forest garden development, Relationship with nature and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to My favourite flowers – for me, for bees and for lots of other lovely insects

  1. Andy says:

    Flowers are invaluable to so many insects. It isn’t until you stop and look for them that you can really appreciate just how many insects there are making use of all the flowers. The more different varieties the better, especially when they reappear in the same or similar place each year so that colonies of self sustaining insects can make it a long term home.

    Nice pictures

    Liked by 1 person

  2. growdigital says:

    Lovely photos, reminds me to plant some carrots just for the flowers (I’m not keen on carrots!)

    How do you grow your sweet cicely and angelica? I’ve tried three times and had no success.


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      Hello, sorry it has taken me a while to reply to your question – I have been pondering it and studying the garden.

      Thinking about this has stimulated thoughts for a blog post, but for now I will say that I think that the level of soil moisture may be an important consideration and that sweet cicely (and possibly angelica too) likes damp and shady conditions, so I am wondering if your garden is able to provide these?


  3. Jan says:

    Any tips on success with sowing seeds of sweet cicely ? I have tried several times but no luck, and I never find any self seeded ones near the plant either. Would love to be able to give some to friends!


    • Anni Kelsey says:

      That seems quite surprising if you already have a plant and it isn’t setting new plants nearby. Once I had one plant I had lots! Is your garden damp /shady – those are the conditions they like best?


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