JOHN’S JOURNAL

What Flowers to Pick for Pollinators!

One of the most popular frames in our Frameyard is always the Wildlife Friendly selection, plants which are easy to grow and perfect for attracting Bees, Butterflies and more into your garden, a lot of it comes down to the colour of the flower along with how long it flowers for, you don’t just want a 2 minute wonder, and you don’t want something which is also going to take over your garden either, so let’s have a look at a few of the top plants which you can include in your garden to attract summer wildlife.

A lot of it always comes down to the colour, bees can only see a certain spectrum including whites, blues, purples and yellows! Now you may wonder why some red or pink plants attract them, and that may be the fact that they have a yellow centre, or the flower may also have a particular fragrance which can also be attractive to bees. Nepeta is always one of my favourite plants to include in gardens, with its Lavender blue flowers and also the ability to reflower several times during the Summer it’s also a bee magnet! Plant it towards the  front of a bed and also repeat it for continuity, we also grow another variety at the nursery called Dawn to Dusk which is also a magnet to Hummingbird Hawkmoths during the part of the day where the light begins to fade, with its white and pink flowers it’s very attractive as well.

Butterfly bushes (Buddleja) can’t be missed either, with their white, blue, mauve or pink flowers and also a delightful fragrance, there’s tall varieties and also shorter ‘Buzz’ varieties growing to 5ft tall, give them a good prune and plant in sun and with deadheading they will flower throughout the Summer. They look beautiful when combined with the different shades of Monarda, commonly known as Bergamot, and these plants are also suited to moist clay soils, it’s always advisory to mix in organic matter to help open up clay and if you have something more loamy or sandy and dry then Achilleas or commonly known as Yarrow are perfect, they also have the ability to repeat flower and with their slender stems they are suited to the front to middle part of the flowerbed.

If you’re after something to give your beds some height during the season then Verbena is the number one choice, with its stiff upright stems reaching 5-6ft tall it flowers continuously from mid July through until October, always take some cuttings or collect seeds to encourage strong new plants to replace the parent plants but it’s always worth the extra effort.

On a final note as flags start to go up in local towns and villages it is clear to see the excitement growing to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and I wish you all a lovely weekend of celebrations whatever you may be doing.

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

How often do I need to replant Monardas?

The Bergamots thrive on being divided annually, this way you remove the old woody growth from the centre and then retain the vigorous shoots from around the edge, you can also Chelsea Chop part of your clump to then ensure that you have some flowering stems for later on helping stagger your flowering.

Do I need sun for Wildlife friendly plants?

Most of them are sun lovers but they don’t need it all day, sun until early afternoon is fine, or sun from dinner time onwards also, Don’t forget to feed your plants as well and Vitax Q4 is the perfect feed to topdress with once you’ve planted your plants, helping give them the energy to really thrive and produce lots of flowers for the summer ahead.

Are Wildflowers good for wildlife?

Yes they love them, and that’s where the ‘No Mow May’ comes from, encouraging us to not mow patches of our Lawn in May to help encourage the flowers in the grass to bloom for pollinators, this is another benefit to a select amount of Meadows being left to grow naturally, currently a sea of Buttercups with so many other perennial wildflowers amongst them.

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

 

Plant of The Week

Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’

A delightful form of perennial Catmint, producing many stems of mid blue flowers, perfect for the front of the border and also either side of pathways or steps. Cut it back after flowering and it flowers again during the Summer months, a perfect plant for pollinators!