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Plant of the week-Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

There are so many plants around at the moment that is it very hard to choose one plant for plant of the week but this is one of my favourite spring flowering plants.

img 2672 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’This tough little plant also known as leopards bane, delights us in the spring with it daisy like open bright yellow flowers that are about 50mm wide, so loved by bees and the early flying butterflies. Their opening is like the welcoming in of spring and on dreary sunless days, the fresh green heart shaped foliage and sun yellow flowers brighten up any day! It looks great in the garden but also they make great cut flowers for indoors

img 2673 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ Is a small low growing plant, not getting much taller than 40cm tall here in the uk and the clumps don’t get much wider than that. It will grow in most soils and conditions, although it does prefer the soil to be slightly damp and moisture retentive, normally in full sun or semi shade . That said I have grown it on al types of soils from sandy, free draining to thin clay soils to clay soils. The only thing I have noticed is that the foliage tends to disappear quicker in the late summer if it drys out too much or indeed the weather gets too hot. That’s well worth remembering if you are planting it out in the borders.

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ is an old garden hybrid that’s been around for years, it is possibly a hybrid of D.austriacum or D.causcasicum but again no one is sure. It is easy to propagate both from seed and also by division. Division is best done in the early autumn months, so the plant has time to reestablish itself before flowering in the spring.

It is a great easy to grow early flowering perennial that is widely planted, grown and sold, if you haven’t got it in your garden, it maybe well worth adding a plant or two

20180226 202933 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’
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My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17

img 0334 My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17

Well it’s Saturday and time for the great meme, 6 on Saturday! The last couple of weeks of rain (many thanks to the kids breaking up, we needed this rain!) the gardens have changed from dust beds back into our lush normal English gardens. It’s made it easy to get my 6 on Saturday this week! 

img 0333 My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ I love echinacea, some forms are a little busy for me, but Magnus is prefect for my garden, love the large mixed colour flowers and that the bees really love this plant too
img 0334 My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17
Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ oh I love Gauras and have a couple in my garden, I do love this form, bred by Steve Eggleton, New Zealand. I just love the purple tinged foliage and then the flowers that appear in May and disappear once it’s frosted, this form is a little more compact than most forms and is prefect in my narrow front borders
img 0338 My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17
Agastache ‘Blackadder’ oh I love my giant Hyssop, it’s dark flowers makes a great foil to other plants as well as giving me a little height in the borders, the bees and butterflies also love it as much as I do! The foliage is also delightfully scented
img 0335 My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17
Geranium wlassovianum ‘Lakwijk Star’ another new plant for me, I love wlassovianum anyway, I find it such a great performer in gardens, the foliage is so attractive appearing in the spring, followed by a summer of flowers ended with a great display of autumn colour on the foliage, can’t wait to see this plant mature
img 0337 My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17
Pennisetum glaucum ‘Purple Majesty’ or purple millet, was one plant I have seen used so well in summer pot displays and always wanted to try it at home, managed to get hold of a plant this year and really loving the effect it is having near my front door, it’s giving me the height and stunning colour I wanted!
img 0336 My 6 on Saturday 12/7/17
Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’ again another group of plants I love, (tbh there’s not many I don’t like!) love and wishes is a plant I saw being used to great effect at Sir Harold Hillier gardens last summer and saw it in the garden centre a moth ago and brought it, just starting to flower now and can’t wait to see it covered in flowers

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday! If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Thank you for reading mine and I hope to see you next week 

Thomas 

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Plant of the week- Centaurea macrocephala

img 1765 Plant of the week  Centaurea macrocephala

img 1765 Plant of the week  Centaurea macrocephalaThis is my second plant of the week looking at plants that attract butterflies into the garden and this week it’s time for knapweed but not any old knapweed, this is the giant knapweed or Aremanian basket flower as it’s sometimes called. Knapweed are a great plant to use to attract butterflies into the garden and range from our own native Centaurea nigra, a plant that’s well loved by all insects to this giant form, that’s not often seen in our gardens. The seed heads are also favourited by birds like goldfinches in the winter, who love the seeds
centaurea macrocephala 2 Plant of the week  Centaurea macrocephala
It’s a native of Caucasus region of Europe where tends to grow on the subalpine meadows at around 2000-2300m above sea level. It was introduced into the uk about 200yrs ago and has been used in our gardens ever since. It prefers a nice damp soil in a sunny spot in the borders, will take a little bit of shade as well. It is a difficult plant to use in gardens due to its height but as well as it’s attraction to butterflies it is also a tough plant and is disliked by both rabbits and deer, that makes it’s rather useful when they are a pain in the garden.
It has uses out of the garden too and makes a great cutflower both fresh from the garden and also dried. They can be easily dried by cutting a newly opened flower and hanging up for 4-5 weeks in a dry shed.
The name is also a brilliant one, Centaurea comes from Centuar Chiron, he cured a wound from a arrow dipped into Hydra’s blood by covering it with the flowers from the plant. Macrocephala comes from the Greek words, markos meaning large and kephale meaning head, so we have large head.
It does take a few years to get established, but once it gets going, it forms a good clump up to 1ft wide with the plant growing up to 5ft tall. It is pretty easy to grow both from seed and also by dividing in the spring.
It really is a beautiful plant, one that should be grown much more in our gardens.
centaurea macrocephala Plant of the week  Centaurea macrocephala

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6 on Saturday 29-07-2017

img 0261 6 on Saturday 29 07 2017

Well once more it’s Saturday again and time for the excellent 6 on Saturday. The weeks again been a strange one here in Hampshire, sunshine, rain and thunder and lightning, has led to a great growing week, one that we really needed. My six things in my garden this week a little more mixed than normal but I hope you enjoy them

img 0260 1 6 on Saturday 29 07 2017
Geranium palmatum. This semi tender plant from Madeira, is doing rather well in my garden, this is the 2nd major flowering this year, the foliage is also very beautiful and adds a bit of tropical look to my garden, love seeing it in flower

img 0261 6 on Saturday 29 07 2017
This little Dahlia is a dwarf form ideal growing in pots, I just love the dark purple foliage with the flowers. It’s really suited my ideas for my patio pots near the front door. Hoping it will be flowering all summer and fill out my pot nicely

img 0270 6 on Saturday 29 07 2017
My ‘Niwaki’ tree. Niwaki isn’t just a rather excellent Japanese tool supplier but is indeed a Japanese method of training and shaping trees, I was lucky enough to go on a training course last year at Architectural Plants and this is the tree I came back with, this is the second year of training my Phillyrea Latifolia, it’s slowly taking shape. So want to try it with some other plants, just trying to find the suppliers
img 0262 6 on Saturday 29 07 2017
Ahh Gazinias, you either love or hate them, I kinda of love them. This one was a bargain! Waitrose had a pot reduced down to £1 from £4 so picked up a pot and found I had 2 in there, divided up and added to my pots near the front door. Just love the bright colours and so do the bees!
img 0264 6 on Saturday 29 07 2017
Rosa ‘Blushing Lucy’ well now she has finished flowering, it was time to prune it, to get the best flowers off it next year, nice easy job to do and one I love doing! All the nice new growths are tied in. This week my new wire has arrived and I can add the next one up I am missing. Another job to get done!
img 0263 6 on Saturday 29 07 2017
Buddleja ‘Buzz Magenta’ a cracking plant that’s is a dwarf Buddleja ideal for pots or borders. I have always wanted one for my garden but have been too big, this dwarf form is ideal for my tiny garden and looking forward to seeing butterflies and bees on to it. It’s a recent purchase from Longstock Nursery

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday! I am taking a break next weekend but please enjoy other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until a couple of weeks, enjoy your gardens and take care 

Thomas 



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Plant of the week- Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’ 

img 0204 Plant of the week  Buddleja davidii Black Knight 

img 5180 Plant of the week  Buddleja davidii Black Knight 
Well after a few weeks break with the Rose of the week, we are back to the plant of the week but with a slight difference. For the next month it’s The Butterfly count. This is carried out each year by the Butterfly conservation to monitor the more common types of butterflies we see in our gardens. So to celebrate this, for the next month I will be focusing on plants that are looking great at this time of year but also attract in butterflies. To start this off, it has to be the Butterfly Bush, Buddleja. There are so many great forms of great plant (check back in a few weeks for a more indepth look) but I have chosen my favourite form and also one of the darkest forms of Buddleja, Black Knight. 

img 0201 Plant of the week  Buddleja davidii Black Knight 
Buddleja davidii is a native of Central and west China, were it grows up to 8000ft above seas level, where it can grow in some  pretty poor soils, hence the reason it selfseeds and grows in any space in the uk, whether it’s a bit of waste ground, roof top or sides of a quarry. Sadly this ability has labelled it as a invasive plant. It was introduced into Europe by the French missionary Father David (hence davidii) from east Tibet in 1869. Buddleja itself was named of the British amateur Reverend Adam Buddleja by Von Linne in 1737. The form ‘Black Knight’ was bred by the famous Moerheim nursery in Holland by Ruys. It has become the most popular form of Buddleja to be grown mainly due to is stunning flowers that are the darkest form of any Buddleja. The flowers funny enough are smaller than the normal size of Buddleja flowers by are bourne on plants that will quite happily make 4m in height. It was grow away in most forms of soil, although it will struggle on heavy waterlogged ones. 

img 0200 Plant of the week  Buddleja davidii Black Knight 
It is pretty pest and disease free apart from the horrible eel worm. They are a microscopic nematodes that live in the young shoots of leaves of the plant, they tend to cause yellow patches in the leaves and deformed growth on the tips of new growth. To check if it has it, cut an infected shoot up and place into a glass of water and leaves for 30 minutes, if they are present, you will see tiny little balls of these tiny tiny worms at the bottom of the glass. To treat, best way is to remove infected shoots during the growing season and all old leaves in the winter and burn. 

Pretty easy to prune, I tend to prune mine in March and more details can be found here https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/03/17/job-of-the-week-pruning-buddeja/

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The Great Butterfly Count 

img 6802 The Great Butterfly Count 
brimstone The Great Butterfly Count 
Brimstone on a Buddeja

Butterflies make such a difference to our gardens, they make our gardens come a live with flicks of colour as they move around the garden, from one flower to the next, it helps to remind us our gardens aren’t just for our enjoyment but for the wildlife as well. One great way to engage with the nature that’s flutters into our gardens is to take part in the Butterfly Count. 
The last few years at this time of year, the Butterfly Conservation charity launches its annual butterfly count. The count looks at the more common butterflies that fly around the uk, so they can monitor how they are doing and also help monitor the effect climate change is effecting one of the major indicators speices of change. This wonderful project has been going since 2010 and last year had a massive 36,000 people taking part, recording over 400,000 butterflies and dayflying moths. It takes place from 14th of July to 6th of August and it’s not a differiclt thing to do, doesn’t make if you don’t know any of the butterflies that are around you, they produce a great app for your phone or will send you a butterfly chart with all the speices on the monitoring list so you can fill out the survey nice and easy. It takes 15 minutes to carry out, and you can either sit down and watch on spot or walk around the garden counting them as you go. It’s brilliant fun to get the kids involved, my little 5yr old daughter loved helping me carry out a few with me last year and still talks about it even now. It really gets the kids into thinking about both the garden and our wildlife. I also use it to check I am doing my job right in the borders I develop with butterflies in mind, a 15 minute survey helps me to keep on top of the plants that are working better than others and plants certain type of butterflies enjoy feeding on! 

img 0117 The Great Butterfly Count 
The Butterfly conservation does wonderful work promoting butterfly conservation around the country, improving habitats to help some of our rarest butterflies, monitoring so many diferent speices, improving our knowledge of butterflies, managing 30 sites and offering advice to other groups on improving sites. This is just a small part of what they do! 

img 5193 The Great Butterfly Count 
Small Tortoiseshell on Buddeja

It’s so easy to do, please take 15 minutes out of your week, whether it’s your lunchtime, spare time or even a whole school class or even take a picnic or daytime BBQ somewhere and add it into a fun game, all you need to do is download the app and take part of in it and open your eyes to the beauty of butterflies. 

This years count is being sponsored by Waitrose and it’s great to see a big supermarket take notice and sponsor such a valuable event 

While the Butterfly count is on, I am changing my plant of the week to my butterfly plant of the week, looking at a great plants, either cultivated or wild, that attractin butterflies either as a food source for catapilliers or indeed for the adults, hopefully this will encourage you in growing some more plants that help our beautiful winged delights.

Hope you will have great fun and enjoy 

img 5352 The Great Butterfly Count 
Peacock on verbena
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Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

20150727 104604210 ios Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and BeesOne of the joys of my job has to be when clients let me loose with the pencil, colouring pencils and Shoots excellent plant directory to redesign gardens, borders or indeed just add plants and colour to the garden. I love to choose plants that not only look good but also help to encourage more pollinators including bees and butterflies into the garden. But why try to encourage them to the garden in the first place? well apart from the pollinating aspect there’s also a beauty aspect of seeing these beautiful creatures flying around the garden adding colour, movement and sound to enhancing what you have already. These little creatures are already under pressure and us gardeners adding plants they love, will also help them survive, indeed a good garden will at times hold a wider range of insects than most other spaces. One thing to bare in mind when looking to add plants for pollinators into the garden is to provide a wide range of different plants with different size and shape of flowers, each different speices of insect have tongues of different lengths which then require plants with the nectar at different lengths. Also some plants can be more attractive to certain speices of butterflies, I have seen this happen with a couple of plants now, first one was with silver washed fritillaries, to see a couple in a day is a delight but on a group of Lysimachia clethroides, I counted 15! It’s happened every year since, not see them on any other plant within the garden. Saw a similar thing with Red Admirals and Eryngium agavifolium, they seem to prefer this to other plants in the area.

Some plants that I find attract a wide range of bees and butterflies and make a big impact to the borders include

img 1328 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and BeesKnautia macedonica, This lovely plant tends to flower from May-September with a little break in between. The dark red flowers are loved by bees and butterflies in their droves, a beautiful plant for the border, that may require a little staking at times. In a dry summer, may suffer with a little bit of mildew, treatment is easy, cut it hard and the new growth will be fine

img 1340 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

Nepeta ‘Amelia’ a rather lovely pink version that gets up to 40cm in height and flowers all summer long, with its flowers attracting all types of pollinating insects.

Nepeta x fassinii, a lovely hybrid catmint between N.racemosa and N.mussinii. It is a smaller plant measuring up to 30cm in height, a lovely blue colour that is at home on poor soils including shallow chalk soil.

20150901 121017319 ios Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and BeesVerbena bonariensis. A great plant that can grow up to 1.5m in height with its purple flowers that almost gives a purple haze effect in the garden. It is a native of South America but will survive in temputures down to -10c. A cold winter may kill off the main plant but loads of seedling can appear in the spring. This plant is a favourite of the hummingbird hawk moth when it appears in the uk in late summer, prefect timing as the verbena is at its best

sdc10044 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and BeesHelenium ‘MoreheimBeauty‘ another late summer flowering plant that can be seen buzzing with bees, butterflies and hoverflies.  This North American plant will grow in most conditions but are more at in a damping bed. May need a little bit of support during the summer .

323 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and BeesDigitalis purpurea this biannual is a native of the British Isles where it can make a plant up to 2m in height, tends to flower early summer and is a great favourite of bees.

echinacea hot summer 4 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

Echinacea purpurea another North American prairie plant that comes into its own in mid to late summer, flowering in a range of colours forming good strong plants, it’s nice open nature means it’s a magnet to a wide range of speices
echninops rito Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

Echinops ritro, a native of Southern Europe, this blue globe thistle, it tends to favour a dry site and doesn’t like a damp spot, it flowers July -October. It is loved by all pollinators

eupatorium purpureum purple bush Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and BeesEupatorium maculatum this tall North American plant prefers to grow in a damp site, where it grows to 2m in height, again its open flowers again attract so many insects.

pulmonaria beths blue Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

Pulmonaria the lungworts are a real boast for any early season insects, these beautiful plants not only have lovely flowers but the leaves are also very beautiful, they do prefer a damp shady spot. They come in a wide range of pastel colours and tend to flower from February to April.

img 5354 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ this shrubby wall flower does flower for almost the whole year with its lovely mauve coloured flowers but it’s the spring time it makes a difference to the early pollinators. Does well in most soils, doesn’t like it too wet and prefers a dry site. It is only short lived but easily propagated by taking cuttings in the summer

img 5173 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

Origanum laevigatum ‘Herrenhausen’. This native of turkey loves poor soil and in full sun. it grows to about 50cn in hieght and flowers from April-October

img 5165 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

Sedum spectable This native of korea and china is famed for the love insects have for it, tends to get to about 70cm in hieght although you can reduce it by half by giving it a chelsea chop, flowers from mid summer and it one of those plants with something of interest for 12 months of the year

These are just a tiny selection of plants that you can add to your borders to add both colour, interest and help our under pressure pollinators.  Garden centres are now helping out by adding little pictures of bees to the labels. There are a few great groups to join if you want to learn more about bees and butterflies. They are the bumblebee conservation trust www.bumblebeeconservation.org and butterfly conservation www. Butterfly-conservation.org, These are great trusts to join to learn more about the bees and butterflies.

img 1438 Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees

DreamTeam Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees