Thursday, 22 October 2015

Top 10 Plants for a Wildlife Garden

Here is an extract from BBC Nature's Features, on how to help wildlife in your garden. Helen Bostock, wildlife garden expert from the Royal Horticultural Society, gives us her top ten flowers, herbs, shrubs & trees to plant to attract & provide for wildlife...

There is some debate between experts over whether native plant species are better for our wildlife and a study is currently underway at the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley garden in Surrey to determine which bugs like best.
Helen Bostock is a RHS wildlife gardening specialist who runs the Plants for Bugs project and has researched the most frequently recommended plants to attract the birds, bees, butterflies and more.
Her top ten plants every wildlife gardener should consider for their patch are: sunflowers, foxgloves, thyme, lavender, honeysuckle, rowan, ice plant, firethorn, barberry and purple loosestrife...

Sunflower
Helianthus
Experts advise that you avoid the heavy double forms which feature in Van Gogh's famous painting because the extra petals mean there's less pollen available for our pollinators. The colourful heads provide a burst of sunshine in the summer and a buffet of seeds for birds when the season changes.
sunflower
Foxglove
Digitalis
A classic feature of the cottage garden, bumblebees love a foxglove. Their blooms appear between June and September but be aware: the plants are poisonous if eaten by humans or pets.
Foxglove
Thyme
Thymus
This herb provides excellent ground cover in gravel gardens, creating safe spaces for beetles and other invertebrates. Its nectar is also a favourite of bees.
Thyme
Lavender
Lavendula
The calming scent of lavender on a sunny patio is a magnet for bees and butterflies. When the purple blooms go to seed, birds can tuck in.
Lavendar
Honeysuckle
Lonicera
This climber buzzes with visitors in the summer months, attracting nectar-loving insects including the hummingbird hawk moth. Warblers and thrushes enjoy the berries.
Honeysuckle
Rowan
Sorbus aucuparia
Although it is a small tree, the rowan or mountain ash has big appeal to the thrush family with its red autumn berries and is a good compact choice for small to medium gardens.
Rowan
Ice plant
Sedum spectabile
These plants provide nectar later in the season and are a haven for hoverflies, bees and butterflies.
Ice plant
Firethorn
Pyracantha
This dense red-berried shrub, often used as a hedge, can provide great shelter for birds. It can cope with both exposed positions and shade and gives wildlife a further helping hand with berries and nectar.
Firethorn
Barberry
Berberis
An attractive addition to a border, berberis come in a number of varieties and provide nectar for butterflies and moths plus shelter for their caterpillars.
Barberry
Purple loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria
For the soggier spots in your garden, this pink wildflower thrives in damper soil and boggy conditions. It flowers from June until the end of August, providing an important nectar source for long tongued insects including eye-catching red-tailed bumblebees and elephant hawk-moths.
Purple loosestrife
You can read the full article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/22433553

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