Plant of the Month by Martin Fish
With the arrival of spring, it’s great to see the garden gradually coming to life with fresh new growth.
Spring flowers and blossom are especially welcome, not just for their beauty, but they are also a very important food source for early bees that venture from the hive on sunny days.
A great late winter and early spring flowering shrub that attracts bees is the shrubby honeysuckle, Lonicera x purpusii, or ‘Winter Beauty’. It grows to around 1.5m (5ft) tall and wide and is classed as semi-evergreen, but I find it loses most of its foliage even in a mild winter.
Through the summer months it’s just a green-leaved shrub, but come February, the tiny clusters of flower buds along the stems start to open and by March it’s in full bloom with a mass of small, delicate creamy-white flowers that shine in the early spring sunshine. The small flowers also have a sweet scent that helps to attract early foraging bees!
By mid-April, lush new foliage starts to develop and that’s the end of flowering for another year, but it’s well worth growing for those two months of flowers at a time of the year when they are greatly appreciated by us and our bee friends!
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.