Hebes and Bees
When Hebes turn up in my local bargain bin I am always tempted. I'll often buy them all, and then find spaces in the garden. Hebes trim easily, make great little hedges or single shrubs, and look beautiful when in flower. And the bees in my garden love them!
Bee on a Hebe Flower
They may be easy-care shrubs, but still need water and sunshine to perform well. But by far the best thing about Hebes is their attraction for the bees. Whenever a Hebe is in flower in my garden there'll be some honey bees and bumble bees buzzing around it.
a he bee on a hebe?
Jack Hobbs Hybrids
The Hebe in this photograph is a Jack Hobbs hybrid. He is a New Zealand breeder, and has a series with names like 'Wiri Mist', 'Wiri Charm', and so on. They've been readily available in local nurseries for some time now. Naturally I rescue any that find their way onto the sale tables at the local nurseries.
Always A Hebe in Flower
Hebes when smaller make great foliage shrubs, and are perfect for filling gaps. But to look their very best they need to be grown in fairly full sun. It's a great pity for the bees when they flower very poorly, if at all.
And there are so many different flower colours for the gardener to enjoy, even in winter. It's claimed that for every week of the gardening year you'll find a Hebe hybrid which will be in flower. As long as it gets the sun - planted in shade the growth can become very straggly, and the shrub quickly becomes woody. Of course, the reactive gardener can then prune them down to size...
Another Bee on a Hebe
Brilliant for the Bees
In my garden there always seems to be one or other Hebe in flower, and of course this is brilliant for my little bumble bees and honey bees. They need feeding all year round, and I'm happy to provide them with shrubs that flower at different times. It is my duty, as a good bee hostess...
Some of my Hebes will have scatterings of flowers at random times during the year, depending on whether or not I've pruned them. The best idea is to trim them as soon as they've flowered.
Even a light overall haircut with the gardening shears is recommended, and this will keep them bushy. These are both good theories, and some that every good Hebe gardener should adhere to.
Unfortunately in many parts of my garden the Hebe is the last shrub to be noticed and cared for. So often my pruning involves a rather drastic chopping down to near the ankles. Oops...
Bumble Bee on a Hebe