In late summer last year I completed my project to create a gravel garden on the sunniest side of my plot. One of the final pieces was developing a Bee and Butterfly raised bed with predominantly blue, magenta and purple perennials.
- Daylily. My daylily which hadn’t flowered in three years was also transplanted here. To say it has gone mad would be an understatement. Although much paler than I’d prefer it does have a lovely magenta pattern in the centre and it is wonderful to see so many flowers again.
- Allium Sphaerocephalon – or “drumstick” alliums, have lovely two-tone green and blackcurrant colours to begin with. The egg-shaped flowers on tall stems sway in the breeze. Red-tailed and white-tailed bumblebees certainly love these flowers.
- Gaura lindheimeri – The genus includes many species known commonly as beeblossoms. Mine is not the white “Whirling Butterflies” but a lower growing pink variety called “Passionate Blush” I think. The burgundy-edged young foliage matures to dark green and although it supposedly forms a bushy mound that stays neat and tidy mine has sprawled somewhat, so in late autumn when it has stopped flowering I shall crop it back to the ground. The red buds open to starry pink flowers that attract pollinators.
- Salvias – I have three Salvia nemerosa “Sensation” in this bed. Deep Blue (Blue Purple), White and Deep Rose (Pink). The mounds of green sage-scented foliage, attract bees and butterflies and they have masses of tightly packed flowers. These grow to about 30 cm.
- Failures: I planted two Penstemons in this bed, but neither appeared this year. “Sour Grapes” and “Garnet Red”. I have bought another “Sour Grapes” which is growing well, but not flowering yet. A Monarda Balmy Purple also failed to materialise in the spring. Odd really because they were planted in a raised bed with new compost and mulched and the winter was not exceptionally cold. It was however, very wet during December and January so maybe that’s what caused the failures. A Polemonium struggled this spring so I might remove that and pot it up so it can recover. I also thought I had lost my “Chocolate cosmos” Cosmos atrosanguineus, but that has very recently re-appeared and even has some flower buds. I shall dig it up this year though and overwinter it indoors where I can keep it dry.
- Before and After. Here’s a few photos showing how the bed looked last August and how it looks now. There are two Lobelias and Helenium yet to flower, and a couple of grasses a form of South Africa reed (Restio) and Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’ (Japanese blood grass) which is a slow-growing plant that I hope will come into its own next year. The Hak Mac (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola‘) has been planted in a pot and removed to the shadier courtyard as the colours apparently look better in shade. The musk mallow plant which dominates this bed during June was pulled out yesterday.
I am sure that it will need more tweaking in the coming months. But for now I am very happy with all the colour this bed is providing and hopefully food for the pollinators.
As always, if you want a peek over other people’s garden walls then please pop over to our host, the lovely Jon, AKA ‘The Propagator’ where you find links to many more wonderful garden enthusiasts from all over the world
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