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.
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.