Here is a selection of what we have observed to be the best melliferous or most bee-friendly perennials.
Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by glands known as nectaries, which are usually located at the base of the perianth. It it the primary constituent of honey.
Pollen, a flower's fertilizing male element, is produced by the stamens. It is rich in proteins and vitamins and is a constituent of royal jelly.
Melliferous plants naturally exist in thousands of specimens and because they spread so prolifically they can produce a honey flow.
In the garden, melliferous plants contribute to maintaining biodiversity which is good for all pollinating insects. Bees, butterflies, syrphid and hoverflies, paper wasps, black ants, bee-flies, Eucera, carpenter-bees, bumblebees, etc.
Melliferous plants are living showcases, real observatories of the micro-worlds in our gardens.
As a child, I used to marvel at the fascinating beauty of bee colonies. So a few years later, I took the plunge and built a dozen beehives in the nursery.
What an adventure! From bringing in wild swarms to installing the first colonies, every visit to the hives is still filled with marvel and I now understand why bee-keepers love their bees!