Geranium Phaeum or, in the wild, Dusky Cranesbill is the best early, easy-to-grow and beautiful plant for bees that I know of, particularly happy in dry or damp shade, I was watching up to ten Bumblebees and some Honeybees feeding on this one plant in the garden yesterday. Garden varieties extend the native, deep maroon flowers through pale mauve to white. All hardy geraniums are good for insects but Phaeum is early and can be cut back to reflower later, or left to provide seed for finches.
Newly emerged worker Tree Bumblebee
Carder Bee on Geranium Phaeum
Honeybee on Geranium Phaeum
Conditions: Cloudy and some rain. Temperature: Max 12- Min 9 c.
Bumblebees in our garden visit the wonderful Dusky Cranesbill (Geranium Phaeum in garden version) more than any other plant out at present. So easy to grow, the main Bumble Bees visiting today were the small Early Bumblebee and the lovely Carder Bee, the only common Bee you’ll see in the UK with a ginger thorax. Geranium Phaeum will grow almost anywhere, shade and sun, is easy to split- and Goldfinches will enjoy the seeds later in the year. Conditions: Cloudy with a breeze and some sun. Temperature: Max 18- Min 10c.