Six on Saturday | Pollinator Plants

Last year I cleared out a patch of my garden which is next to the patio. I have wondered if a pond used to be here as the plants growing there were all bog garden / pondside plants – Filipendula ulmaria / meadowsweet, Mentha aquatica / water mint, Iris pseudacorus / yellow flag, Japanese anemones and Eupatorium cannabinum / hemp agrimony. The irises in particular were very overgrown and flowered less each year, plus the leaves were enormous and smothering everything else. Because I couldn’t easily access the space to get to a white climbing rose on the fence and brambles and nettles grew among the planting I decided the whole lot needed to go. My plan was to create a small natural pond in the space in the spring.

However, since then I have decided to use my Belfast sink as a water container as the alpines I have in it aren’t thriving. So until I can get around to emptying the sink and finding a way to manoeuvre it into the space (it is very heavy) in April I scattered a packet of Pollinator Mix from Mr Fothergill’s. The Pollinator Mix is packed with nectar- and pollen-rich flowers that pollinators will love, including corn marigold, flax and purple viper’s bugloss, though none of those have appeared. So what has come up in my patch?

(1) Californian Poppies – both the common orange variety and an ivory one. I love how they fling their petals open to the sun and then curl up tightly in the evening.

(2) Corn Poppies. Bright red with black blotches at the base, these are such a gorgeous scarlet. Sadly though the flowers only seem to last for a day!

(3) Borage. Yes, the one I call a thug sadly appeared. Whether from this packet or from another part of my garden I don’t know. I have left it for the moment, but come August and its days are numbered as I have two new Helenium plants close by that I would like to see.

I have to admit that the blue does look good against the bright orange-gold of the poppies.

(4) Corncockle / Agrostemma githago. I wondered about this when it was growing as it looked like grass. I hesitated in pulling it out, and glad I didn’t as this pretty magenta-pink flower appeared. I’d like more! Quite difficult to photograph though, so this has had a little treatment. When I looked it up this is what I discovered.  “this is a highly poisonous plant but do not need to worry that it will contaminate nearby fields.  The large black seeds are not eaten by birds. They are also too heavy to be carried by the wind and generally fall around the existing plants.” It does seem to be common in wild flower and meadow mixes.

(5) Common Yarrow / Achillea millefolium is not from the packet, but grows close by. I do have another variety in this little bed, but not yet in flower. I have had to keep a close eye on it as it is in danger of being swamped by #1

(6) Helenium. My Heleniums in the Bee & Butterfly bed only lasted a couple of years. I love these flowers so decided to have another go at growing them, this time in this sunnier spot. One is ‘Moerheim Beauty‘, the other is ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer‘ which I admired on other Sixers’ blogs and has orange-yellow-red flowers, each one different.

Herlenium ‘Morheim Beauty’

I have also seen common vetch and phacelia tanacetifolia, though that got hidden under the poppies. As for pollinators, well bees have been busy on the borage and several butterflies have visited, mainly Red Admirals so far, including one which seems to love to land on my arm! I am keeping watch for others. The fuchsia and the penstemon in the header are just at the other side (separated by a couple of very large lumps of granite) of this pollinators’ patch. I quite like having an annual mix like this and being next to the Zen Patio is a bonus.

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.

See here for the participant’s guide.

Six on Saturday


  1. fredgardener says:

    Very nice choice of wildflowers ! I especially like the last one ( I don’t have yet) and the photo with borage & orange poppies 👍🏻

  2. Love these flowers and colours, you’ve got to keep the borage for that blue! I find cutting it back helps and it just sends up new flowering shoots.

  3. Prue Batten says:

    I love the wildflower mix and you’ve inspired me!

  4. We can buy Mr Fothergill’s seed packets here. I must go and look to see if they have a similar mixed packet. It would be fun to see what comes up. Your colours are lovely.

  5. The pollinator plants are lovely. Those poppies are such great colours. The lavender is very popular with the bees here at the moment but it was the thyme that drew them in before that. The photo of the helenium is stunning.

    1. Heyjude says:

      My lavender has become hidden by other plants. I need to relocate it.

  6. What a great selection of wildflowers, and the area looks beautiful! I’m very sorry now that I did not sow seeds from my packet of pollinator mix this year.

    1. Heyjude says:

      You can use them next year. I have used 3 packets now and they have all done well.

      1. I had better remember to use them!

  7. Ann Mackay says:

    A lovely mix of wildflowers for bees etc. and you’ve given me an idea. 🙂 Hubby want’s to build a ‘sit-ooterie’ at the back of the garden where it would be looking over a planned veggie garden. So maybe a wildflower area for the pollinators would be better there and we’ll be able to watch the bees at work. Your comment about the yarrow possibly being swamped made me smile. How different our gardens are! Here yarrow is a thug – it grows right through the ‘lawn’ (totally fine) but also creeps into the borders and tries to swamp my plants. I’m always pulling bits out!

    1. Heyjude says:

      The wild yarrow has no problem getting its own way, I am always pulling it out! But I have one of the colourful varieties and I’m not sure that’s as tough. Definitely have the pollinators by the sitooterie. It would be good near veggies too. I have now seen nasturtiums and stitchwort.

      1. Ann Mackay says:

        That’s reassuring about the coloured yarrows because I have a couple of tiny plants of a dark red one and I’ve been hesitating to plant them out. (I’ll put them somewhere where they can spread a bit if they want to, though.) It’s good that your flower count is going up… 🙂

  8. smallsunnygarden says:

    It’s lovely seeing what has come up from your pollinator packet. I love the look of heleniums but have never grown them. Yours certainly is a beauty.

  9. Megan Hall says:

    Love your helenium in particular 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes, they are lovely plants. Not from the mix though. But bees like them.

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