Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Dinner for Bees

I normally focus on growing food that we can eat but, without some pollinating friends, we wouldn't get any fruit or vegetables for ourselves. I thought I'd widen the variety of plants growing in our garden that are both beautiful for us to look at and, more importantly, provide something good to eat for the nice insects that work so hard in our garden.

We had an overgrown and weed-filled flower bed running the length of the back garden: a prime site for an overhaul. 

There are a few lovely plants that we had to work around though, a most beautiful yellow rose with a little bit of mint growing around it (been there since we moved in), a really elderly lavender plant, another rose - a pinky white one - and the plum tree that we planted a few weeks ago, "Czar".

There is also this very small, ground covering succulent sort of plant with pretty white flowers (above left). Does anyone know what it is?

We took a trip to the garden centre and loaded up on beautiful plants. I know you are supposed to do tons of research and spend days planning what you are going to grow but I am far too impatient for that. My plant choosing principles were simply to pick flowering plants that have a cottage garden feel to them, some that will grow tall, some short and most of them hardy perennials.

We chose: gypsophilia "festival pink", silene "rolly's favourite" (campion), osteospermum "cape terracotta", delphinium "guardian white f1", dwarf pink "fusilier", scabious "butterfly blue beauty", potentilla "jackman's variety" (cinquefoil), devon pink "lily the pink" and hybrid tea rose "simply the best".

I pulled out as many of the weeds as I could, leaving a few that I like the look of (which I guess makes them not weeds any more). I read the labels on each pot and, according to the projected height and width of each one, placed them in the arrangement I thought looked best. I left them for a week before planting them permanently, to make sure I still liked the arrangement after a while, and make sure that none of them immediately showed signs of hating their new home.

After getting the hubby outside with a spade, to dig plant-sized holes in the bed, I planted everything up with a handful of potting grit and some compost at the bottom, followed by a thick mulch of compost.

Fingers crossed they all like it here, they do look lovely and the bees are already all over them, hooray!

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