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. BeckyB says:

    ooh that was a great wildflower packet – what a selection. We have a butlers sink too in garden, will definitely be emptying it when we move if I can!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Good luck on the sink! They weigh an absolute ton! Have you found somewhere to move to then?

      1. BeckyB says:

        nah, I just like to think ahead!!!!!

        and once I empty it it is over to the removers!!!

        1. Heyjude says:

          Oh, they’ll thank you for that!

        2. BeckyB says:

          hee hee well there are also larger acers in pots!!

        3. Heyjude says:

          Actually mine might be a Butler’s sink. It is quite shallow.

  2. beetleypete says:

    Lovely poppies, Jude. I have a man coming next week to cut the hedges front and back. They have grown alarmingly large this year. Julie has been given a number for a recommended gardener too, so we will hopefully get the untidy front and driveway sorted before late September.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Rain and heat tends to do that to plants!

  3. margaret21 says:

    Fabulously exuberant. I’d love to see this garden!

    1. Heyjude says:

      You’ll see more of it next week when I do a round up. In truth it would take about 15 minutes to whizz around. How I can spend hours out there beats me!

  4. bushboy says:

    I love the idea of a wildflower mix. Great garden and get help moving that sink 🙂 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      The sink may stay where it is, I like the annual patch and already thinking of other seeds I could scatter there next year.

      1. bushboy says:

        Good plan Jude 🙂 🙂

  5. Alison says:

    You have a beautiful garden.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you! Rather wild at the moment!

  6. A lovely selection. I grew corncockle one year. I’m not sure why I haven’t grown it since. Flax is lovely and blue and has presumably appeared in my garden thanks to bird seed. I’m going to have to look up that ivory Californian Poppy as it’s rather splendid.

    1. Heyjude says:

      You can buy a packet of mixed Californian Poppy seeds. I think there might be a pink one? But the orange and ivory are natural colours. I like Flax too.

  7. n20gardener says:

    Love the fuchsia and penstemon combination at the top of the post. I am thinking of adding ‘Moerheim Beauty‘ to a border here so you are encouraging me in that direction. I also enjoy the Californian poppies and their curling and uncurling, I have them growing in my belfast sink, previously home to sempervirens which were uninspiring. Beautiful colours.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It’s a shame that the Penstemon which seems to be most prolific is this pink one (though it usually looks much more coral than it does this year). I have a red one which would look much better with the fuchsia. I hope the Heleniums like this position better than their previous one, but time, and winter, will tell.

  8. Pit says:

    We keep part of our property unmowed [well, we mow it once or twice every autum] to “reserve” it as a pollinator and wildlife [for the fawns] refuge. But it doesn’t look in the least as beautiful as yours. In spite of all our efforts, not many different wildflowers grow there.

  9. Toonsarah says:

    I love all the poppies, especially the corn poppies. I’ve never seen cream California poppies before!

    1. Heyjude says:

      The corn poppies are being blown off before I even see them in flower! But the Californian ones are much more robust. Cream ones are natural, but not as much as the orange.

  10. Lovely selection, love them all but probably not as much as the pollinators love them! Just goes to show, chuck it and hope for the best works well. Hope you got some rain.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Sometimes it works!

Comments are closed.