I'm still trying to identify this fluffy bee. Spotted in the glorious wildlife garden at Pensthorpe.
The plant is a purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. Recommended on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list.
Echinacea fact file:
Common name: hedgehog plant, coneflower
Genus: Echinacea. Clump forming, rhizomatous perennials with simple, pinnately-lobed leaves. Long-stemmed daisy-like flowers with prominent conical centre.
Height: 0.5-1.5m with a spread of 0.1-0.5m There are some low-growing varieties such as Kim's Knee High (60cm). See RHS info link here.
Grows in: Full sun, tolerates some shade.
Aspect: Prefers south facing. Can cope with sheltered or exposed conditions. Any really well-drained soil.
Propagate: From seed. Available from Chiltern Seeds. Or divisions in spring.
Recommended: Elton Knight, Magnus, Ruby Giant, Pallida (drooping petals), White Swan, Green Envy and Green Jewel (lime). I haven't found the orange, yellow and apricot-coloured hybrids to be very long-lived.
Tips: Avoid damp spots for planting and don't heavily mulch over the crown in the winter. Add plenty of grit when planting to improve drainage. The cold weather doesn't seem to bother them, it's the mild, prolonged wet spells that kills them.
Anyone know the name of my bee?