Britain's estimable Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has compiled two invaluable lists of 400 plants that provide nectar and pollen for bees. Since that's what the bees need for pollination, and that's what allows flowers to become fertilised and produce seeds, it's important for gardeners to know the key plants to grow.
In the last 20 years there has been a dramatic decline in bee numbers in Britain.
The RHS has published two lists of flowers that are good for the bees. One is a list of flowers, the other a list of wildflowers. Some we call weeds but they really aren't, such as clover in the lawn and wild parsnips in the flower bed.
There are many familiar plants in the garden flower list: honeysuckle, euphorbia, wallflowers, geraniums ,bee balm,echinacea, holly and hellebores.
In the wildflower list; clover, thyme, crabapples, forget me nots, and basil.
Butterflies are also in decline with three quarters of the 59 species in Britain under threat. It's due in part to the long stretch of miserable wet weather that the UK has been having. Butterflies are cold-blooded animals and need warm weather to develop. There hasn't been much in the last few months.
The other issue is that many people are ripping up their lawns and putting down decking. Butterflies need flowers to get their nectar.