Wednesday, 4 March 2009

New butterfly border for 09

As much as I love the tropical plants I grow in my garden- one thing ive been frustrated about is the lack of flowers in the garden- and I mean specifically flowers that attract butterflies and bees. I was always torn when I started the garden between having a wildlife garden or a tropical garden as the 2 don't really go hand in hand- and as you may see my garden is tiny- I believe it is about 15ft by 30 ft with a side alley where I grow my ferns so it was hard to do both.

Unfortunately the tropicals won! But its time for some changes!

The tropical plants I grow are mainly large foliage plants like treeferns, bananas, palms and bamboos and the flowers (if any) are not good nectar providers. Ive tried growing Dahlias or annuals every now and then but they don't flower that well as they aren’t in the sun.

This year ive decided to remove some of the tropical plants that haven’t done so well after this winter on the right hand side of the garden which is in full sun most of the day. Im leaving the taller plants at the back like the Fig tree, the Trachycarpus fortuneii and the Robinia frisia to still give me the height and privacy from the neighbours. However I will probably remove a couple of Yucca which are growing at the front of the border.

This has given me a space about 8ft by 2ft in full sun- great! Now last year if I had this space it would have been filled with Cannas, Gingers, Dahlias and other exciting tropical species but this years im going for the best nectar providers I can find! Now these don't have to be natives- but simply good sources of food for butterflies and bees.

After a search on the internet I came up with this list as some of the star performers to look out for this spring when im at the garden centres- i wonder how many of these i can fit in the bed!

Verbena bonariensis
Echinops ritro
Hyssop (H officianalis)
Aster (Aster novae-anglicae)
Ox Eye daisy
Sedum spectabile
Coneflower (Echinacea)
Ironweed (Veronia)
Mint (Apple/Spear)
Thistles (Cirsium and Centaurea)
Knautia arvenis (Field Scabious)
Hemp agrimony
Greater Knapweed

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