Because different varieties of Lavender flower at different times, the flowering season in your garden can be extended from early spring to early autumn and so the more varieties you plant, the longer the Lavender Bee larder will remain full and open. Of course, this will also mean you will also get to enjoy one of the English gardens’ great pleasures – over six months of flowering, scented and wonderfully varied Lavenders…
Planting just two varieties will provide flowers from mid-March to the end of September:
Lavender Imperial Gem: Flowers mid-May to mid-July
Lavender Alba: Flowers mid-June to end September
The month overlap (mid-June to mid-July) when both are usually in flower should ensure a constant supply of pollen throughout this period regardless of our increasingly erratic climate.
Lavender Grosso also flowers late (mid-July to end September) but if that erratic weather does kick in and your Lavender Imperial Gem stops flowering early, July may be a little barren for the bees.
However, four other Lavender varieties are in bloom between mid-June and the end of August and will therefore ensure the required continuity. They are Lavenders: Hidcote, Dwarf Blue, Richard Gray and Twickle Purple – Richard Gray, though, generally comes into bloom just a few weeks later and Hidcote a few weeks earlier.
It’s not just the bees that will thank you for planting Lavender – Blue Tits, house proud at the best of times, have been recorded collecting and using Lavender to disinfect their nests!
Of course, everything one can say about Lavender and wildlife holds true for Rosemary Miss Jessopp’s Upright (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’)
NB: Any hedging plant that you allow to flower and fruit will first sustain bees, butterflies and moths with nectar and pollen and then birds and mammals with their berries. Escallonia Macrantha, Griselinia Littoralis, Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’, Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’, Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus ‘Rotundifolia’) and Perovskia Blue Spire (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Blue Spire’) will all serve wildlife well.