For the first time ever, English Nature is advising gardeners to plant exotic plants which will do well in warmer and drier summers and continue to provide nectar and pollen for foraging insects.
Historically English Nature
, when they have provided advice on garden plants, have recommended only native species. Recently however, they have taken a more creative and pragmatic approach to the relationship between wildlife and gardens (see for example their new CDROM Gardening with wildlife in mind
). They are concerned that global warming and the associated drier summers will make it hard for many insects, birds and other animals to meet their needs from native plants which may not do so well in these conditions. They have even gone so far as to suggest certain plants including giant viper's bugloss (Echium plantagineum
), which grows about 13ft tall and originates from the Canary Islands. Chris Gibson, senior policy officer for English Nature in Essex, said of it "This flower is the equivalent of a multistorey restaurant for bees. The plant is covered with hundreds and thousands of little blue flowers and each provides nectar and pollen for insects such as bumble bees."