We are as excited about the royal wedding as everyone else, especially that pollinator plants from Kensington Gardens have been incorporated into the floral design. We give you the low down on some of the best flowers to plant If you want to royally welcome pollinators in to your garden!
At this time of year, the Royal Parks are humming with activity as thousands of insects take to the air, spurred on by the warm weather and abundant flowers in the parks. This spring there has been an additional flurry activity because flowers that have been identified by our team at Kensington Gardens for being particularly 'pollinator friendly' will be incorporated into the floral displays at St George's Chapel for the royal wedding. And the good news is that after the wedding, these flowers will be replanted into the park, including along South Flower Walk so that all visitors to beautiful Kensington Gardens - and our local resident bees - can enjoy the flowers in their usual home!
There are over 1,500 species of insect pollinators in the UK, including 24 species of bumblebee, 260 solitary bee species, and hundreds of hoverflies, wasps, butterflies and moths. These mighty minibeasts are essential for UK biodiversity: they maintain wildflowers and are a food source for many birds and small mammals. Pollinators also have huge economic value to agriculture, playing a crucial role in the production of our food crops.
Worryingly however, the UK has lost 95 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s, and some pollinator populations are declining due to loss of habitats, as well as pressure from pesticide usage, intensive farming practices, disease and the changing climate.
You can join Mission: Invertebrate in helping combat this loss by:
- Making sure that pollinators have food all year round by growing a range of pollinator-friendly plants that flower at different times throughout the year.
- Leaving areas of grass unmown to provide shelter for insects. Why not sow some wildflower meadow seeds too?
- Adding a bee hotel to your garden for solitary bees and wasps.
- Never using pesticides on your plants while they’re in flower.
What did the royal couple choose?
If you have the space, why not create a floral display fit for royalty in your own garden? The pollinator-friendly plants chosen by the royal couple are hardy and easy to grow.
Mayflower (Geranium macrorrhizum)
Mayflower grows well in sun or shade, and flower varieties are available in colours ranging from pink to white. Mayflower is a great store of nectar and attracts a wide range of pollinators, including bees and hoverflies.
Dusky Cranesbill (Geranium phaeum album)
The white dusky cranesbill is being used in the Royal Wedding, but varieties of this hardy, nectar-rich plant come in all sorts of shades of purple and pink too. It is perfect for pollinators and offers great ground cover.
White foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea alba)
These pure white foxgloves look stunning anywhere. The long flowers means that foxgloves provide vital nectar for specialist pollinators with long tongues, such as the small garden bumblebee. Foxgloves are great for adding height to shaded areas of your garden, growing to about 1m tall.
What can you do?
If you have a smaller space, such as a window box, there are still lots of fantastic pollinator-friendly options available, including several edible plants and herbs, so you can make the most of your space by feeding pollinators and yourself! Some good options include:
- Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
- Cowslip (Primula veris)
- Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
- Garden nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
An extensive list of plants for pollinators can be found on the RHS website: