Hi Katherine, fortunately there are lots of container plants which will attract bees! Always try to choose single flowers which bees can access easily - very frilly, double flowers are unsuitable for bees as they can’t reach the nectar. For annual plants which will last one season and die with the first frosts you could try Antirrhinum ‘Trailing Mix’ or Antirrhinum ‘Candy Canes’, Ageratum, Nasturtium and Marigolds.
Alternatively there are lots of perennial plants which bees will love and these plants will come back year after year. An absolute favourite is lavender! If you only want a small plant then choose a variety such as ‘Little Lady’. Other fantastic perennial container plants for bees include: Sedum, Aster, Buddleja ‘Buzz’, Wallflower, Coreopsis, Heuchera (mainly grown for its foliage but the flowers are attractive to bees), hardy Geranium, Gaillardia, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Oregano and Chives. Single-flowered Dahlias such as ‘Candy Eyes’ are also attractive to bees and provide valuable late-summer nectar. They can be treated as annual plants or you can lift the tubers in the autumn and store them indoors before re-planting each spring (this process is explained in the ‘aftercare’ tab on the product page).
For a short-lived display in the spring bees also appreciate Crocus, Bluebells, Fritillary, Muscari, Snowdrops, Allium and Anemone coronaria, all of which can be planted into containers. I hope this helps Katherine and that you manage to attract lots of bees to your garden this year!
Hi Matthew, your front garden looks generally open and bright but I’ll suggest a few plants for the shadier parts too. For a sunny or part-sun position some long-flowering and colourful plants include Phlox, Echinacea, Dianthus, Aster, hardy Geraniums, Alstroemeria, Penstemon, Shasta Daisy, Silene, Rudbeckia, Coreopsis and Delphiniums. Some cottage-garden classics, which tend to have a shorter flowering period but are lovely when in bloom, include Lupins and red hot pokers. Plants which grow from bulbs such as Gladiolus, lilies, Alliums and tulips, can also make a big impact when planted in large groups, although they only tend to flower for about 4 weeks each year.
For shady areas you could try Hosta, Geranium himalayense, Hellebore, Dicentra, Foxgloves, lily of the valley, Astilbe, Bergenia (Elephant’s ears), Pulmonaria, Tiarella, Euporbia, Thalictrum and Alchemilla mollis (Lady’s Mantle). Bulbs are also useful for shade - bluebells, cyclamen and snowdrops will do well in shadier areas. I hope this gives you some ideas to start with Matthew - there are so many beautiful plants you could choose from!