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National tree week-celebrating trees

apple william crump 2 National tree week celebrating trees

img 2219 National tree week celebrating trees

This week is national tree week, it’s a whole week celebrating the tallest, the biggest living thing on this glorious planet of ours. We all walk by a tree everyday but how many of you take a second to stop and think about how much these beautiful plants give us each day? Yes they give us oxygen and help to store carbon but what else? Of course there’s wood for building houses, furniture, fences, tools, clothing, money and millions of other day to day objects. For thousands of years, well until coal was discovered, it was the only thing that we used to keep warm and cook with, no hang on, coal is indeed fossilised wood, so it wasn’t until we started using oil and gas, that the role of trees, was reduced to keep us warm. But even that is changing, the use of wood as a fuel to make power is coming back, with bio burners, run on chipped trees and plants are starting to make an impact within the electricity market. And of course where would we be without matches and paper to start a fire in the first place!

img 8590 National tree week celebrating trees

It’s not only to use that trees give so much, but the wildlife surrounding us, from the flora and fauna that use trees as a place to live and feed above ground, to the life they support underground both still alive and also when they die and the wood is slowly decomposed back into the ground, helping with the support of a wide range of insects, bacteria, plants and fungi, to give more life to the soil and helping the next generation of trees and plants to grow away.

apple william crump 2 National tree week celebrating trees

And of course they provide us with food and medicine, indeed in some trees it’s the whole plant that helps us in the every day struggles to stay healthy and our bellies full. In the city environment they help to reduce our toxins that we produce in our day to day living, both by absorbing them into their foliage as in some gases but also trapping the large particles on the leaves, helping those people who suffer from breathing problems, better air to breathe. They also lift our spirits and help to reduce stress and depression just by providing something natural in an urban environment but also by attracting in wildlife again helping us to take a few minutes out and enjoy nature in our busy day to day live. Indeed in japan, they encourage you to spend at least 2.5hrs a week, walking though a forest and inhaling the air, this air they have found contains the essential oils released from the trees that also have a positive effect on the body, they call it forest bathing. They also provide (for some of the lucky ones amongst us) work! From growing trees, planting them, caring for them and of course making things from them. I have had a lifetime working around trees and plants and it has been a lifetime well spent

img 8634 National tree week celebrating trees

But trees also help to put us into our place! They remind us how short of a time we have on this planet, while we maybe lucky to live until we are over a hundred, trees can go on for much longer, indeed the oldest tree is thought to be a bristlecone pine tree that’s lived to over 5500years old. They also are a legacy for our children and great grandchildren children to enjoy as whenever we plant a tree, it is for them to enjoy and not for ourselves and that to me is one of the greatest joys of trees, planting something that will be there a long time after I have gone.

Indeed the trees have so many other uses in our lives and planet, far to many for me to list here, indeed more than likely more than I know and understand. So as you walk by them on your way to work, take a look at the trees with a little more respect and yes Sheffield council that does mean you as well!

img 3259 National tree week celebrating trees

The first tree I ever planted, still growing strong at Mottisfont Abbey Gardens

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October, the neither month!

img 1071 October, the neither month!
Rhus in full autumn glory
I feel sorry for October, it’s an odd month I find, its neither summer or autumn, it’s main purpose is to be the change month. That doesn’t mean it’s dull month, indeed it’s far from it, giving us delights of both summer with plants like Salvias and Asters flowering at their best and still at the same time, early autumn colour starts to appear, things like Rosa rugosa with their beautiful hips, Euonymus with its jewel like multicoloured seeds and seed cases to the early foliage performers turning, liquidambers slowly going from green to a deep red, Euonymus alatus turning its burning red. There is indeed no other month like it! By the time November appears, Jack Frost is about finishing off the last remaining Salvias and Asters, some of the scented flowering shrubs start appearing, by the end of the month, all but the last stubborn oak and beech tree would of dropped their leaves and we will be left with the clear up and the fun of kicking the leaves, smelling the last of the sugars in the crisp cold morning.

img 0972 October, the neither month!
Salvias will keep flowering until the first frosts
 October, the neither month!
img 08451 October, the neither month!
As will beautiful asters

img 0735 October, the neither month!
Rosa glauca has great hips!
October was a busy month for me once more, carried on my current project in Botley, Hampshire. The new foundations of the garden are almost in place, the new fence line is, the steps and pathway from the main part of the house to the orangery area is now done and we are hoping to start on the river fence and decking this week, should be fun, using cleft sweet chestnut and chestnut palling. Have also started sorting out the beds on another site, we have 3 large beds to redo with one being reduced in size a little and the plants being spread into the other two. All this while carrying on my normal regular garden works. Been around a bit too, with 6 talks at different gardening and plant groups from Buckinghamshire to Dorset. I love traveling the country and meeting many other gardeners who all share a love of plants with me. Only managed one garden visit around Harold Hillier Gardens towards the end of the month, ended up being a little wet but still fun and enjoyable walking around, looking at the wonders from the world. It’s also the month I started my Master of Horticulture through the RHS, a day spent at Wisley, trying to get my head around it and straight into the first assessment and somehow I managed to get it done and a day earlier, just waiting for the marking now, quite nervous about the whole thing, never done anything like it but it’s given me a drive to learn even more about this wonderful trade we call horticulture. Next ones now started, 100 words is a start, isn’t?

img 0922 October, the neither month!
Piles of leaves to pick up!
img 0253 1 October, the neither month!
Leaving some herbaceous Plants like this Echinops is a great way of attracting birds into your garden as well as looking good in the winters frost

Next month will be spent clearing up the leaves and start cutting back the herbaceous Plants, well not all of them, I like to leave the leaves on the beds for as long as I can, I feel the leaves are nature’s own food, the plants drop them off near by to allow the goodness that they hold back into the soil and re fertilise the soil. All the micro organisms in the soil will help to break down the leaves and release the goodness back into the soil and really help to keep it healthy. I also like to leave the sturdier stems on the herbaceous Plants to give a bit of interest during the winter, I love the effect the frost, sow and even a heavy dew has on them, turning them into something else, with all the fine detail being shown up with the help of the weather. The compost heaps will also be growing quite well during this time of year and if you have the space, a bonfires will soon be lit, I do love a good bonfire, I think it’s the cave man in me, just something about the flames, the heat and the smoke that I think takes me back to childhood days. One thing I try and do is stack up the material to burn to one side of the fire area and then move it onto the fire, this is partly to do with having a more controlled blaze but also so any animal like a hedgehog, who fancies my big piles to hibernate into, won’t be burned alive. I forget how many times I have started to move stuff and there’s a rustling sound soon after as a hedgehog disappears the other way. Bulb planting is another job that’s underway this month, I don’t have too many to plant but there’s enough to do, my ones at home are nearly done but I still have a few at clients houses to do. It’s something to look forward to next spring, when the fruits of you labour start to appear and delight you with their colours

Well that’s it from my monthly review, I hope you enjoyed it and see you around!

Until then


img 1061 October, the neither month!
And bulbs to plant!
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Six on Saturday 28/10/17

img 0920 Six on Saturday 28/10/17

Well it doesn’t seem like a week since I was writing the one for last week, the weather that effects us gardeners more than others, ended up being pretty wet but so warm this week thankfully drying out a little towards the end of the week, with that strange yellow thing in the sky appearing for one day. The rumour is Jack Frost could be arriving this week, I wonder how tough he will be, need to get the rest of my tender plants in overcome this weekend, hopefully to save them for next years enjoyment. Anyway here are this weeks 6 highlights from my own and my clients gardens.

img 0930 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
This lovely hydrangea has decided it’s time to flower again for some reason, seems a common occurrence amongst hydrangeas this year, never mind, we get to enjoy their beautiful flowers for a little longer!
img 0919 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Acer palmatum Dissectum Atropurpureum delights us in this garden with its purple foliage during the summer months and then turns this wonderful colour in the autumn supposed to be a slow growing shrub, it loves the clay soil on this site and is now putting on about a foot of growth every year
img 0920 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Time for some hips and Rosa glauca is having one last throw of the delight dice, after thrilling is all summer with its grey foliage and small but perfectly formed pink flowers, it finishes the season with some great hips and I love great hips!
img 0932 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Iris foetidissima is better known as the stinking iris mainly as the flowers and to a lesser degree the foliage just stink! It’s a horrid cat wee smell and for me the only saving graces are it is a british native, the leaves are evergreen and the seed pods are stunning,
img 0924 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Leaf piles! Nothing and I repeat nothing says autumn more than a pile of leaves and no matter how long it takes me to produce a huge leaf ruck I can not help myself going through it and kicking some into the air, grabbing a handful and just smelling them, only to be done with fresh dry leaves I may add! Fallen leaves are the sign summer is over and the naked trees a sign winter is here
img 1040 Six on Saturday 28/10/17
Spiders spiders everywhere! Wherever you look at this time of year the evidence of spiders can be found in hedges, grass and borders. Their cobwebs are like natures own deadly decorations bringing in winter, really luck to get this one after a heavy mist the other day!
I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from both mine and a clients garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website 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 next week, have fun in the garden

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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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The curse of the rose sawfly

img 0253 The curse of the rose sawfly

img 0110 The curse of the rose sawfly

It almost sounds like a horror movie, well it could well be if you get them on your roses. The large Rose sawfly, Arge pagana, has really increased over the last couple of years and is becoming a real problem on roses. This beautiful insect gets its name sawfly by the way it lays its eggs, it has a sawlike egg laying dagger that it uses to cut into the rose stems to lay its eggs, these cuts can be from 25mm to 75mm in length and it's quite amazing to watch it. Once the eggs are laid, they hatch quite quickly into caperpillers. These little beasts are again pretty obvious compared to other caterpillars. If you get near them, they stick their bodies out trying to look like the veins on a chewed leave, if that doesn't work, its next trick is to fall to the ground and once safe, the crafty little so and so's, then climb back up the plant once the danger has gone! Don't let that fool you though, they will strip your rose bare of leaves faster than you can believe and having up to 3 broods a year, well worth looking out for their tale tell signs of the scar on the young stems on the roses.
img 0253 The curse of the rose sawfly
Treatment is pretty easy on smaller roses, if you notice the cut lines in time, just cut out the damaged section and add to the green bin or rubbish bags. If they have hatched into hungry caterpillars, place your hand underneath to catch any that will drop off the plant and just squash them in your fingers! If you are a little Squeamish, best way is to put a tray underneath the branch and tap them onto it and then add to green waste bin. If they are really covering the plant or covering a climbing rose, spraying maybe the only choice, sometimes putting a white sheet underneath and then try and blast them off with a high pressure blast of water and stamp on what falls down or collect into a plastic tub and leave them out for the birds otherwise a spraying with something like provado will kill most of them on the plant, try and spray first thing in the morning or last thing at night to avoid other insects. This is always a last resort for me. I prefer to use as little insecticides as possible. 

Anyway just watch out for these little beasties on your roses before they strip them of most their leaves!
img 1248 1 The curse of the rose sawfly

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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

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Rose of the week- Stanwells perpetual 

stanwell perpetual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 

stanwell perpetual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 
This rose is a slight oddity, it doesn’t fit into the ‘normal’ brackets of our garden roses that we like to add them too, it even doesn’t quite fit into wild shrub rose bracket I like to add the more species based roses into. But that doesn’t make it a bad rose, it just means we humans can’t add it into a ‘bracket’ like we do to understand things. So why is it so difficult to label? Well it’s a cross between rosa pimpinellifolia and an autumn damask rose that happened by accident in a garden in stanwell, Middlesex. It was introduced a few years later by Lee of Hammersmith in 1838. The rose pimpinellifolia is a suckering wild shrub that can be found around Europe including the UK, it tends to flavour a poorish soil and will take over sand dunes quite happily. 

rosa stanwell perpeual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual rosa stanwell perpetual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 
It does make a shrub up to 5ft tall if allowed but it does make a pretty lax plant that needs the support of the older branches, the thorns are pretty fine and very numerous on the shrub but that adds to its charm added to the greyish green fine foliage that makes a brilliant drop back for the lovely pale pink quartered flowers that have the most delightful scent, that are indeed are borne all summer long and well into the autumn months followed by some large black hips. It is a beautiful rose, one that is at home in a border and also at home in the more wild parts of the garden and was indeed Gertrude Jekylls favourite rose to plant into this type of area. Normally such heavenly quartered flowers aren’t good for bees but this one is the exception and will attract bees in quite happily. It is also an exceptionally tough rose, it will take all soil conditions apart from heavy clay and will also take a shady spot in the garden. In her book of roses, Gertrude Jekyll, recommends planting them 1ft apart to form a self supporting group, from my experience, I would agree with her and found it does make a better specimen if treated like that, otherwise it makes a pretty arching shrub. Can be trained into a informal hedge as well. Pruning is dead easy, almost as easy as rambling roses! Any long growths reduced by 2/3rds and remove expired wood and that’s it! Pretty disease free as well. A great rose to start with! 

Can be brought from most nurseries and garden centres as well as being seen in most good gardens. 

stanwell perpetual 2 Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 

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Plant of the week Osmunda regalia

osmunda regalis Plant of the week Osmunda regalia

osmunda regalis Plant of the week Osmunda regalia


img 3628 Plant of the week Osmunda regaliaThis plant of the week isn’t one full of flowers but is indeed one of a stately manor, adding a touch of class to any waterside. Indeed this British and European native, is better know as the Royal fern and so rightly deserved. In my mind, it’s the spring time when the ferns start to show their beauty off, the fonds, slowly uncurling their beautiful fronds, in a light green with light brown hair covering them. Once opened, they go a slightly darker colour before going a beautiful buttery yellow and a tinge of brown.

osmunda regalis 2 Plant of the week Osmunda regalia

Osmunda is an ancient plant, dating back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the world dating back to 260 million years ago indeed many fossils have been found around the world including parts of the uk. It differs from other ferns by the fact the have fronds that are there to photosynthesise only and fronds that only are there to produce spores, these sporagia, are brown in colour and indeed look like the fern is flowering.

The name Osmunda is thought to of come from the Saxon god of war, Osmunder! Regalis is from the stately royal look of the fern. It loves growing in damp places including woodland, grasslands and of course, near water courses, it will also survive on limestone outcrops. It is indeed a native of the uk as well as the rest of Europe and into parts of Africa and Asia. In the uk,  it is making a come back after years of collecting both For the plant and for the it’s roots. Why it’s root? Well it made into Osmunda fibre which was used as a potting fibre for tropical orchids. But that’s not its only uses. It can be eaten in its young state and has a taste of asparagus but it’s the sporagia that has the most interesting use, for many centuries in Slavic traditions , the sporagia or Peruns flower was thought to have magical powers from unlocking demons to understanding trees. These had to be collected on Kupala night (thought to be 24/25of June), the collector, had to draw a circle around themselves and the plant, protecting themselves from the taught of demons! Kupala night was changed to Easter eve after Christianity.

osmunda regalis1 Plant of the week Osmunda regalia
In our gardens, it’s best planted near its favourite waterways, around ponds, lakes and streams, where we can enjoy both looking at the plant head on and from the reflection in the water. They just need a dampsite with a good amount of humus present, doesn’t  need much looking after either, just the old fronds removed In late winter. No real pests and diseases either. Some great forms are also available including a couple listed below,  img 4727 Plant of the week Osmunda regaliapurpurascens, that starts of with purple stems and fronds, with the foliage turning green, leaving the stems a shade of purple, love this form! Cristata is a form with more divided leaves

They can be seen widespread in different gardens, two of my favourite places to see them are Savil gardens near Windsor and Lockstock water gardens, near Stockbridge, Hampshire, also most good garden centres or nurseries will sell them. is also a brilliant place to buy

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Plant of the week- Geranium phaeum 

geranium phaeum joan baker2 Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 

geranium phaeum Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 

My plant of the week this time is one of a personal favourite. I have loved the mourning widow geranium for nearly 30 years, not sure what it is about the plant I like so much, whether it’s the foliage or small but perfectly formed flowers, but whatever it is, I think it’s a special little plant.

It’s one of those plants that are indeed overall pretty easy to grow. It’s native environment is the wooodlands and low mountainsides of Europe, mainly though the Baltic countries but can be found naturalised in some parts of the uk. It will growin pretty  dry soils to dampish, alkaline or acidic again from light sunny spot to one of full shade. It’s one of those plants that is so flexible within the garden.  The small flowers are borne in may-June on 2-3ft stems and come in a such a wide range of colours from white to black and many forms of red and blue as well.

It’s pretty easy to look after as well. It suffers very few pests and diseases, the worse has to be mildew in a dry summer, cure is easy, you cut the infected foliage back and you are awarded with new fresh foliage a while later, worse is the vine weevil, that will eat the roots just below the surface and kill the plant off. Looking after is pretty easy, I cut them hard back after they have finished flowering, lifting and dividing the plant if required at this time. I tend to feed the beds they are growing in rather than the plant itself. Doesn’t need any staking. Maybe a little bit of water after I have divided them.

The name geranium comes from the Greek word meaning crane and the seed head looks like a cranes bill while phaeum comes from the Latin for brown after the colour of the flower.

There are so many forms (over40!) I will only go though a few below

geranium phaeum sambor 3 Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 


Samabor. (left)This form was discovered by Elizabeth Strangeman near the village of Samabor, Croatia. It is indeed the most commonly grown form, mainly down to the striking black sponge print on its leaves. The dark flowers really make it a great culitivar

geranium pheaum alexs pink Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum Alex’s Pink. (right)One of the best pink forms with some mottling on the leaves


geranium phaeum lilly lovell Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 


Lilly lovell, (left) named by Trevor Bath after his mother.a beautiful form with more of a yellow green foliage, with purple  flowers borne above.

geranium phaeum joan baker2 Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 



Joan baker, (right)another famous form would in Bill Bakers garden and named after his wife, the leaves a plain green.

phaeum rose madder Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 


Rose Madder (left), a distinct form, some feel isn’t a phaeum more of a hybrid, leaves are more shiny and the flowers slightly more swept back

geranium phaeum margaret wilson 2 Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 

Margret Wilson (right). One with striking varagition in the foliage, needs to be kept out of full sun. Can be trying to grow!

geranium phaeum connie broe Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum 


Connie Broe.(left) One with yellow veins and a marble like foliage

phaeum alba Plant of the week  Geranium phaeum Alba(right) is the pure white form

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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

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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

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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 and butterfly conservation www., These are great trusts to join to learn more about the bees and butterflies.

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DreamTeam Planting herbaceous plants for Butterflies and Bees