Penstemons are perfect for bees and have the potential to flower from June to the first frost.
Best choice is to buy a small collection, say five varieties in plug form, and raise many more from stem cuttings for years to come.
Rudbeckia, echinacea, gaillardia, helenium and foxglove are real bankers for any border display.
Look beyond the initial cost of each and discover what value for money they represent. The first four can be propagated by digging up and dividing into sections once they’ve matured and foxgloves self-sow year on year, you simply round up the young plants and point them in the right direction.
Alternatively, sow each of these plants in rows outdoors from June onwards and keep them weed-free. Resulting plants can be grouped in the border when they are big enough. Every summer garden needs a butterfly bush, but it need not be the gangly davidii type now there are dwarf varieties available.
Mallow or lavatera is the other must-have for bees and flower fanatics.
The first blooms opened in early July 2013 and believe it or not it’s still flowering in February 2014!