My favourite flowers

There are a lot of fabulous flowers that are great for insects and wildlife in your garden. Sowing a wildflower meadow is a great way to encourage birds and hedgehogs into your garden, which eat slugs and snails. But if you can’t afford the space for a wildflower meadow, here is a list of five plants that are great looking and brilliant for bringing nature into your home:

My favourite flowers all look good, and are all great for wildlife.

Bluebells

A fantastic early addition to your garden... really, nothing needs to be said, plant beneath a hedge, and like daffodils they spread into a beautiful carpet in the early spring.

With bluebells, it is important to consider whether you have any livestock or other animals, because the bulbs are easier to eat. Also, the simple versions are much better for insects. There are many species of bluebells. Of them all, I prefer the English native bluebell, for its delicate and perfect flowers.

You can develop new climps of bluebells by collecting seeds, or digging them up from an existing location. It is very important to do this after they have died down, and only with the landowners permission.

Technically the bulb of a bluebell plant is poisonous, so you should not plant them where pigs or other livestock live. Bluebells also like shade, they are most happy when they grow in a forest glade. When I was young we used to walk through bluebell glades, and the site still reminds me of my mother and father.

Buddleia

Brilliant hedge plant, vigorous, easy to look after and inexpensive. In summer, the flower season lasts a long time and it will attract thousands of butterflies to your garden.

There are many different varieties of Buddleia’s. In my garden I have three: a pink, a purple and a yellow globe. Of them all I prefer the traditional purple. The reason for this is that bu,ble bees can find the flower much more easily.

These plants grow to the sky real fast, like lightning. You need to cut them back every winter for best results.

They make a quick evergreen hedge in next to no time.

The plants can be grown very easily from cuttings, so once you buy one you have as many as you’ll ever need!

Geranium

The humble Geranium is hardly exotic, but you can chose varieties that flower almost all year, it is prolific in flowering, and a really easy plant to grow.

This particular geranium is my favourite. You have two choices. Sterile geraniums, which can flower all year round, or geraniums that still set seed. For the natural gardener, the original versions which set seed is better. The reason for this is that in order to make them sterile, the flowers have had stamen breed out of them. This means they produce no nectar for the insects to eat.

Still, even the native versions can be kept flowering by simply dead heading them regularly, for a long lasting beautiful display for months at a time.

Daffodils

Plant once and they will naturalize in grass, providing beautiful hope in spring, and the earliest bees into your garden.

Not considered to be a nature gardening flower, the single headed daffodil actually produces much needed food for insects at a critical time in the year. They also give you a bit of sustenance for your soul, cheerful yellow flowers when you most need it after a dark long winter.

Last spring I planted around 500 down a path, which you can read about on my blog, the daffodils in bloom.

Purple loosestrife

An unusual plant striking, attracting native insects into your garden. Absolutely marvelous!

This tall plant always used to be in the herbal garden, for its beauty as well as medicinal uses. During the summer vast patches of plants sway in the breeze, and are a botanist’s darling with three separate forms of flower – each plant only has one of these forms.

The Greeks thought that hanging a garland of these flowers would make a team of oxen plow the field together.

More practically it has been used in more modern times as a hair die and insect repellent, and as a remedy to various medical complaints including diarrhoea and to halt bleeding.

What I love about this plant is its wonderful color, and the fact that it will flower for months at a go with little or no work. Not necessarily for the back garden, but if you have a large garden with a meadow it is a fantastic addition.

 

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