Now we've entered the fine month of May, we think we can officially say that spring has definitely sprung – the hanging baskets outside the pub are in full bloom and the blossom on the trees is looking particularly lovely (even if it does sometimes drop into our hair on the way to work and cause an awkwardly intimate moment when our desk mate has to fish it out).
But spring wouldn't be such a beautiful time of year without insects like the bees and the butterflies who make it all possible – they put in the hard graft of transferring the pollen and seeds from one flower to another, and fertilising them so they can grow and produce food.
However, these pollinators have been going through a bit of a tough time in recent years. What with global warming, increased pesticide use and habitat loss, they are now under threat like never before. That’s pretty scary, because without them, many much-loved food crops, such as apples and onions, would die off completely.
By planting some bits and bobs in your garden which are bee and butterfly friendly, you can provide them with the sustenance they need to get the job done. This can be as simple as using a wide variety of different flowers in your garden, not keeping it too tidy, leaving wild flowering plants in place (such as ivy, which is a particularly important source of late season winter food for bees) and avoiding using pesticides. If you’re feeling extra specially helpful, you could even take a course in bee-keeping to boost bee numbers, or create a butterfly habitat in your garden by planting milkweed.
If you fancy having your garden a-buzzing with bees and butterflies, then these incredibly useful (and beautiful) illustrations by Hannah Rosengren display a few of the plants which can give them a bit of a helping hand: