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Bumblebee Friendly

'What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet'. When William Shakespeare wrote these immortal words in Romeo and Juliet, he suggested that all roses were the same (in respect of their sweet smell, at least). Indeed, in Shakespeare's day, perhaps most roses were the same, or similar. But he wasn't to know that over 400 years of selection and breeding of roses by horticulturalists would result in a stunning explosion of roses in many colours, shapes and scents. But in the pursuit of beauty, insect visitors of roses have been largely forgotten. Many varieties of rose are now off-limits for bumblebees and other insects, but why?

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Bumblebee Friendly

'What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet'. When William Shakespeare wrote these immortal words in Romeo and Juliet, he suggested that all roses were the same (in respect of their sweet smell, at least). Indeed, in Shakespeare's day, perhaps most roses were the same, or similar. But he wasn't to know that over 400 years of selection and breeding of roses by horticulturalists would result in a stunning explosion of roses in many colours, shapes and scents. But in the pursuit of beauty, insect visitors of roses have been largely forgotten. Many varieties of rose are now off-limits for bumblebees and other insects, but why?

Agnes
(Rugosa Rose)
Alba
(Rugosa Rose)
Angelica
(Floribunda Rose)
Avon
(Ground Cover Rose)
Betty Boop
(Floribinda Rose)
Blanc Double de Coubert
(Rugosa Rose)
Blue Eyes
(Floribunda Rose)
Bobbie James
(Rambling Rose)
Bright as a Button
(Shrub Rose)
Checkmate
(Climbing Rose)
Chris
(Climbing Rose)
City of London
(Floribunda Rose)
Cornelia
(Shrub Rose)
Dainty Bess
(Shrub Rose)
England's Heroes
(Floribunda Rose)
Etoile de Hollande
(Climbing Rose)
Eye Of The Tiger
(Floribunda Rose)
Eyes for You
(Floribunda Rose)
Flower Carpet Amber
(Ground Cover Rose)
Flower Carpet Gold
(Ground Cover Rose)
Flower Carpet Pink
(Ground Cover Rose)
Flower Carpet Red Velvet
(Ground Cover Rose)
Flower Carpet Ruby
(Ground Cover Rose)
Flower Carpet Sunset
(Ground Cover Rose)
Flower Carpet White
(Ground Cover Rose)
For Your Eyes Only
(Floribunda Rose)
Golden Wings
(Shrub Rose)
Hampshire
(Ground Cover Rose)
High Hopes
(Climbing Rose)
Iceberg
(Climbing Rose)
Joseph's Coat
(Shrub Rose)
Kent
(Ground Cover Rose)
Lakeland
(Climbing Rose)
Madame Alfred Carriere
(Climbing Rose)
Old Rosemary
(Rugosa Rose)
Paul's Himalayan Musk
(Rambling Rose)
Penelope
(Shrub Rose)
Phyllis Bide
(Rambling Rose)
Pretty Polly
(Patio Rose)
Pyrenees
(Ground Cover Rose)

As with many popular plants, it all comes down to the breeding. Most natural versions of roses (for example, Rosa Glauca) are simple and elegant things: they usually have just five petals, splayed out to show the centre of the rose. The centre is where all the pollen and nectar (bee food!) is, so these roses are perfectly shaped for bees, which have no problems in getting to the centre. The trouble comes when plants get bred for their appearance. Quite often, this results in varieties of roses which, although beautiful, are closed off to insect visitors. Some have too many petals, which are tightly bunched and cover the centre of the flower, preventing bees from reaching the pollen and nectar.

We have listed below our selection of bee friendly roses, so please take the time to browse through our selection. Our top tip when you are thinking of buying a new rose for the garden and want to ensure bees will visit, is to think like a bee. If you can see the yellow centre of the flower and it is not hidden away, then bees will probably love it and be able to use it for food.

Most rambling roses are suitable for bees as are the varieties of common Japanese rose (Rosa Rugosa) which are highly scented. Our thanks to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. For further information on the Trust please see their website: http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org


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