Preparing the Ground

Woburn Abbey’s Garden Show at the weekend was a great event to visit and select a few additions to the garden flora, to attract more garden fauna. It’s always great to see the plants in flower, and to see the local bees and hover flies giving their own consumer verdicts.

Top of the list of course was Nepeta. I bought a couple of the species ‘Six Hills Giant’. These should be quite easy to grow – provided I can keep the cats away from them! I have three Catmint plants that I bought earlier this year and they’ve not been allowed to grow more than a few centimetres high.

I also bought

Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’

Verbena rigida

Geranium ‘Sirak’

Geranium Sylvaticum ‘Album’

I’ve always avoided geraniums in the past, having been brought up thinking of those horrible dusty smelling pelargoniums as geraniums, but seeing how much the bees adore the cranesbill that seems to flourish in my garden I thought perhaps it was time to go with the flow and use these for more colour in the shadier parts of the garden.

And a Sisyrinchium ‘Sapphire’

They all look as if they should be attractive to bees, and as, at the moment, they are sitting around on my patio I shall be keeping an eye out to see if the bees have any preferences. So far the Nepeta has definitely proved the most popular -in fact, when I bought them, I had to shoo off a bumble bee that wanted to hitch a ride home with the plants!

Of course, if you take the easiest route from Woburn Abbey to my house, you have to go past Frosts and Wyevale Garden Centres in Woburn Sands, and I couldn’t just drive past could I? So I added a few more to the trial selection. (I’ll list these later). But as today was a lovely sunny day, I decided to go for a pootle up to Castle Ashby’s Gardens and see what they’re growing in their butterfly garden. (Photos later) I was very restrained in the plant shop and just bought a Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Lavendelturm’ and an Origanum Vulgare ‘Compactum’. The bees were already demonstrating their liking for these two, especially the Origanum, and as my golden marjoram is not quite in flower yet I thought I’d try this one.

All I need to do now is prepare a new bed to put them all in!


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