The bumbles love this!

My back garden is blessed with a fairly mature deep red peony which we inherited with the house. It flowers for my birthday every year in early May.

About six or seven years ago, we added some younger plants of the same shade that we had purchased at the annual scout fair down the road. We planted them, unadvisedly perhaps, in a ceramic trough in the deepest darkest shadiest corner of the garden (they much prefer sun!) and eventually last year we had the first buds flower. Only one or two on each plant but worth the five year wait! Nature is nothing if not determined!

It is rather lovely to see their glorious colour peeking through the foliage as I look out at the garden from our patio doors.

A few years ago, just after the Chelsea Flower Show had finished, during Summer half term, Mr Em and The 11yo (then about 8 or 9!) came up to town on the tube to collect me from my office for lunch.

As we wandered back to Baker Street station through the streets of Mayfair, in glorious Spring sunshine, we came across a pop up shop selling Chelsea leftovers to raise money for a gardening charity of some kind. We were duly seduced into making donations for an overpriced alium stem (to be fair it remained intact in a vase on our lounge windowsill for weeks and weeks!) and a tiny peony plant.

The latter we planted in a corner of the sunny front garden, which was desperately in need of more colour in May/June. It seemed rather small and looked absurdly vulnerable in between rambling lavenders for several seasons but eventually produced one beautiful pink flower last year.

So we are thrilled that this year we have two flowers and two more buds yet to open and the bumble bees are going absolutely crazy for it!

Same plant two different shades!

What do the bees love in your garden? Have you chosen plants especially for them or were they already there when you took over the garden? Or is your garden currently bereft of bees?

The RHS have a list of plants that attract pollinators like bees on their website if you are interested in helping increase their dwindling numbers. Good for the bees, good for honey stocks and particularly great for any fruiting plants nearby!

Let me know how you get on in the comments below.