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in Wildlife gardening
I'm pretty new to gardening and I would love some advice on the best native flowering plants to attract wildlife throughout the year. I am restricted a little in that I need to use pots and I don't know my perennials from half hardy annuals! The more colour and scent the better! Thanks in advance
Yes, well, that's a 'how long is a bit of string' question nejaan. You can grow absolutley anything in a pot provided it is of the right size and you are willing to do everything for the plant that it would do for itself in the ground. We have 400 odd (probably in both senses of the word) pots in our garden, from 6'' across to three or four feet - and we never, ever go away in the summer because every pot needs attention every day. Ok, you don't ned to be as besotted and silly as I am, but pots do take alot of attention - depending what you grow in them They need weeding, even with gravel on top, as they cannot cope with competition as there is far less soil available to each plant than would be in beds, watering is an art in itself as no two have the same needs. Advantages are that, at least with somewhat smaller ones, you can move them around as each thing comes into its best. Our daffodil pots are now beside the shed till next spring. Having said you can grow anything in a pot and you can, some things are easier than others. Wild life plants are often natives and tend on the whole not to be as happy in pots as other things. We have small (grown that way, not pruned) buddlea, which the bees/butterflies love, hostas which they lve for the flowers, oregans, mints, many small shrubs and grasses, trees - which may be more than you want - not everyone wants a 12 foor oak tree in a pot - small acers, bamboos, (not not native, but I like them), dicentras, sweet peas, peas, beans, other veggies, herbs, foxgloves are surprisingly happy in a pot, all summer bedding can be grown there, iris's, especially the little ones, all spring bulbs etc. There are some excellent boosk about container growing, try your library and see what they have? Take a look around your area and see what is growing well, ask the gardener what it is, whether it is a perrennial (stays more or less as it is, comes back each year) herbaceous, (dies back but returns each year) annual (needs replaving each year) bulb, most can stay where they are - including lilies which are very happy in pots. I could go on, but won't or I will wear your eyes out!!
Thanks a lot Bookertoo and Lindapenney! The garden we have has some grass but is mostly gravel and I have tried to dig down to see whats underneath but there seems to be very little soil. Also we rent and I know that most landlords like a low maintainence garden so thought I'd best stick to pots. All advice is greatly appreciated!
I will be gardening in Portugal, where it is very hot most of the year! Does this mean the growing season is different from Britain, and in what ways does it differ! Can anybody help, as I start growing vegetables in raised beds this Summer as I am wheelchair bound! The Raised Beds are 90 cm high to allow access from wheelchair, and they have a base of rubble and are filled with locally purchased Organic Multipurpose Compost!
hi Ian here is a link for you as i am not 100% of the answer but you might find it in here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_season
The Rain Garden Bot at www.myrunoff.org suggests native perennials based on the preferences you enter. It is a free tool for gardeners and landscapers.
I used to have a fifth floor flat and for years the only way of growing anything was in window boxes. It didn't stop me having my wildflower 'meadows'. I grew corn flowers, poppies, cron marigolds knapweeds, chamomile, primroses and many, more over the years. The ones that gave me most pleasure were the corn marigolds and one-eye daisies. I could spend hours watching all the little solitary bees doing their tour around each flower. Not to mention the hover fly and ladybird larvae munching their way through the green fly. They were the best square feet of habitat in central London, well in my opinion at least. . Have a look through what is on offer with Naturescape and Emorsgate seeds for many native wildflowers. Try to go native as these will guarantee food for something. Though non-natives offer pollen and nectar they can often not offer much else. There are exceptions of course like Nasturtiums which are loved by caterpillars. Anyway. More suggestions. Cheddar pinks. Beautiful and work well in pots and smell fantastic. Marjoram and Thyme. Chives (still native believe it or not) white Alyssum the annual kind smells gorgeous and will provide nectar and pollen for months on end. Creeping Jenny is a dead easy native trailer for hanging baskets and is more or less evergreen. There are various types of native Thyme plus cultivars for many situations, I wouldn't be without it. Ivy leaved Cyclamen, a dubious native but is great for pots and is in flower now. Take your pick of bulbs. Naturescape offer a good choice of native bulbs plus some 'nearly natives'. Wild wall flowers are brilliant and will seed themselves very readily. Hairbell is a delight. Sedum album, sedum acre, Sedum telephium and Sedum roseum are all great natives. Ivy of course can't be ignored. Kidney vetch is not such an obvious choice but is lovely and it important for a good few butterflies along with ladies smock.
Oh, don't rule out grasses. Many native grasses provide food and habitat for insects. Sweet Vernal grass is one of my favourites because of it's smell and taste! Wavy hair grass is another good tufted grass for pots. Leave them over winter for hibernating insects.
To find out what conditions they prefer got pfaf.org