I bought my white Hebe for 10 euros 25 in March 2014 to provide ground cover for a difficult dry, sunny patch in my front garden.
It has been money well spent as it flowered in the first year and is flowering again just now.
The honey bees make straight for it. It is called véronique arbustive in French which sounds a much more charming name for such a beautiful plant. It belongs to the Scrophulariaceae family of plants which contains many plants that the bees and other insects love for their high nectar content.
But it is not only the honey bees that are attracted to it.
There are lots of wild solitary bees that love it too. Compare the sizes of the bees in the last two photographs with the size of the flowers.
These little black bees are so tiny that I’m sure some people must mistake them for flies.
It does attract the bee flies too. This one is a particularly good bumble bee mimic and even buzzes like a bee. They are, however, parasitic on solitary bees. Their eggs need to hatch in the nest of a bee or other insect so that the larvae can feed on the larval stages of the host insect.
This bee is particularly attractive as it is a shiny gold colour. The little slit at the rear of the abdomen shows that it is in the family of Halictidae but I can’t go closer than that.
The butterflies come for the nectar, too.
This one is a copper.
Perhaps the Sooty Copper (Lycaena tityrus).
The honey bees don’t seem to bother with collecting the pollen from the flowers although I think the little bees are more patient and collect a cream pollen but the bee above has been visiting somewhere else to have collected all that yellow pollen.
Strangely, I see very few bumble bees on the Hebe. They much prefer the Dahlias that are growing all around it.
So, if you are looking for a plant that doesn’t cost a lot, provides lots of entertainment by attracting bees and butterflies and is easy to care for – I think Hebe ticks all the boxes.