Sunday, 19 June 2011
Attracting Wild Life
One of the first rules in planting a cottage garden to attract wildlife is to provide as wide a diversity of plants as possible. The more diverse the planting, the greater the variety of wildlife you'll attract, and though that will certainly attract some villians, there will also be enough predators to police your patch.
Pictured above: Linaria (bees love it)
Plants to attract birds:
There are hundreds of shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants which will attract birds - the list is endless, but try antirrhinum, berberis, blackberry, cherries, cosmos, cotoneaster, hawthorn, honeysuckle, sunflower and Michaelmus daisies.
Food plants for bees:
Annuals include - alyssum, borage, cornflower, french marigolds, nasturtium.
Perennials - chives, delphinium, lavender, lupin, thyme and veronica.
Plants to attract butterflies:
Alyssum, aubretia, buddleia, cornflower, dianthus, forget-me-not, hyssop, nepeta, polyanthus and thyme.
Plants to attract moths:
Honeysuckle, jasmine, nicotiana, petunia and verbena.
Flowers with an open structure, like the Poached Egg Plant, allow the female hoverfly to have a meal before laying her eggs. Ivy makes one of the best nesting sites and food for birds, provides winter hibernation quarters for some species of greenfly-eating hoverfly larvae and many other insects.
So, a good selection of varying plants is all that is needed to attract all types of wildlife.
Wandering round the garden last evening looking for something to photograph for today's blog, I was overcome with a fragrance that was almost overpowering. It had been a damp day, but not cold, ideal conditions for all the scented plants to put out their alluring scents. I followed my nose and found it was the Philadelphus (Mock Orange) Belle E'toile (pictured above) that was doing her stuff in a grand manner. It flowers on last years' growth and if you prune the shoots that have flowered once they have gone over you should have a bush full of flowers every year.
Shrubs are the backbone of a garden providing year round structure with very little attention. They do take up a fair amount of space but are worth it for their long show of flowers.
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