With peak flowering from March to May, dandelions are sure sign of spring! This early, easily available source of food is a lifesaver for hungry pollinators when they emerge from hibernation in spring. Each flower consists of up to 100 florets, with each floret packed with nectar and pollen for our pollinator friends to feed on. Fun fact: The dandelion was named after the French dent de lion, meaning “lion’s tooth,” a nod to its toothed leaves.
White, red, or any other colour—bees love clovers in all their varieties! However, clovers are mostly intolerant to acidic soils or drought. In fact, dry weather can actually reduce nectar flow, so it’s no wonder clovers are so abundant here in Ireland! Enjoy this flower when it pops up in the garden and let our wet climate encourage nectar flow to nourish our precious pollinators.
The white daisy flower is a beautiful sight for pollinators in early summer. And for good reason! Flat or shallow blossoms like daisies will attract the largest variety of bees. Be sure to let these mid-high flowers grow wild in long grassy areas to help nourish our hungry pollinators.
As the name suggests, these small spring flowers are a beautiful shade of blue. Bees happily feed on the bluebell’s nectar, as they especially love blue and purple wildflowers! Interestingly enough, bees can ‘steal’ the nectar from bluebells by biting a hole in the bottom of the flower, reaching the nectar without the need to pollinate it. But bees are not the only wildlife which will be attracted to Bluebells in the garden. Woodland butterflies and hoverflies all feed on their nectar!
These little flowers are huge favourites with bees thanks to the attractively coloured petals and easy-to-access nectar. Most species of bees will appreciate the inclusion of forget-me-nots in the garden. Luckily for us, these plants are easily grown in most gardens. Fun fact: Forget-me-nots are most fragrant during the evening. They give off very little scent during the day!
Poppy pollen is remarkably clean, containing few fungi or mycotoxins, making it an excellent food source for our pollinator friends. But poppies are beneficial in other ways, as well. In many parts of Europe, the Solitary Poppy Mason Bee lines its underground nest with colourful red poppy petals. These mid-high summer flowers rely on disturbed ground. “Disturbed ground” refers to any work or activity that disturbs the earth, like clearing, digging, etc. This encourages germination. In fact, poppies reseed themselves when encouraged. Because of this, a permanent garden poppies is easy to maintain by learning to recognise the seedlings and simply allowing them to grow!
Found along hedgerows, borders, and woodland edges, the campion is perfect for pollinators. Its rich nectar attracts bumble bees, butterflies and other insects that help support the eco-system and promote bio diversity. Birds love these white mid-high flowers as well! Look out for them in high summer.
Cornflower are found in various shades of blue, pink, white, purple, red and maroon, but we’re more familiar with the blue hue here in Ireland. Cornflower has the ability to produce single or double blooms and contains both reproductive organs. Being a rich source of nectar, these mid-high flowers attract butterflies and bees, which are the main pollinators of the plant. These flowers really spring to life in high summer!
The common cowslip is a type of spring-blooming wildflower that is essential for supporting flying insects such as bees and hoverflies. Their rich source of nectar makes these small yellow flowers a hit with pollinators, but they do best in short-grass meadows.
We need pollinators to grow many of the fruits and vegetables that make up a balanced diet, including our delicious berries. While our Irish pollinators include hoverflies, butterflies, and moths, most pollination in Ireland is carried out by bees. This is because bees feed their young exclusively on pollen and are entirely focused on collecting it from flowers to bring back to their nests.
Unfortunately, one third of Irish bee species are now threatened with extinction, with solitary bees particularly under threat. So, at Keelings, we want to help reverse the declining population so we can continue to enjoy the fruits of their labour.Pollination & Pollinators