Sunday, 30 August 2015


No shortage of veggies this month as the harvest gets into full swing. Potatoes, runner and French beans, carrots and kale all keeping me well fed. And stacks of fruit - raspberries, blackberries, grapes, cherry and Victoria plums all doing nicely.

Plenty of plants for pollinators too, some like the perennial wallflower "Bowles Mauve" and the echium "Blue Bedder" have been flowering non-stop all summer, some like catmint, bladder campion and golden marguerite are flowering for a second time, whilst I'm getting another crop of flowers from a second sowing of phacelia. And of course others like helianthus, sedum, liatris and eupatorium save their glory for this time of year and are flowering for the first time.

In the meadow grass in the orchard the yellow of ragwort and blue of tufted vetch is giving way to the purple of common knapweed. A time of abundance for both me and the creatures with whom I share this little piece of planet earth.

Not so many of the common bumblebees around now as many of the colonies have reached the end of their lifecycle: order will have been replaced by anarchy and the old queen killed. However there are still plenty of tree bumblebees and carder bees around in need of nectar. It's been a fairly good year for butterflies - among the colourful garden varieties I've noticed more peacocks than small tortoiseshells this year and at the height of summer there was no shortage of the grassland types: gatekeepers, meadow browns, skippers and speckled woods. And a major improvement in the number of common blues I've seen.

Here's the pics:

 Cosmos coming to the fore in the pictorial meadow mix.

 Didiscus: I trialed this for the first time this year but it's been a disappointment, attracting very few pollinators and  also being good at falling over in the wind. One I'll probably not bother with again.

 Agastache: at the other end of the scale one of the very best plants for bees.

 Now that I'm getting a handle on which are the best plants for bees and butterflies I'm starting to think about combinations - what looks good together - to plan for future years. Here helenium, fading poppy stalks and borage with aster in the foreground.

 Agastache in the foreground with echinacia against the woody stems of a dying wallflower "Bowles Mauve".

 Meadow grass and wild flowers.

 Plot in the morning.

 Greenbottle fly on aster.

 Hoverfly on helianthus.

 Large white on verbena.

 Tree bumblebee on scabious.

 Common knapweed in the meadow grass.

 Potentilla and bladder campion make a nice combination.

 Tree bumblebee on agastache.

A treat at this time of year is seeing the sedum flowers change colour as they slowly open.

A late bumblebee on dahlia.

And the not-so-common Common Blue on marjoram.

Plants for bees and butterflies in August

Here's what's been providing pollen and nectar this month:

Agastache foenicolium 
Agastache foenicolium "Golden Jubilee"
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) 
Aster frikartii "Monch"
Bishop's Flower (Ammi majus) 
Bladder campion
Blood Pink (Dianthus cruentus)
Catmint (Nepeta mussini)
Cirsium rivulare "Atropurpureum" 
Clover - wild, white 
Coreopseris verticillata
Cosmos "Sensation Mixed" and "Pied Piper"
Cupid's Dart (Catananche)
Dahlia "Redskin" 
Didiscus "Madonna Mixed"
Echinacea purpurea
Echium "Blue Bedder" Eupatorium purpurea
Evening primrose 
French beans
Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria "Sauce Hollandaise") 
Helenium "Sahin's Early Flowerer" 
Helianthus "Lemon Queen"
Liatris spicata "Floristan Violet"
Mallow - wild
Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) 
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot, bee balm)
Nicotiana "Lime Green"
Perovskia "Blue Spire" (Russian sage)
Phacelia tanacetifolia (second crop)
Poppies - cornfield, opium.
Potentilla atrosanguinea 
Rose Campion 
Rosebay willowherb
Rudbeckia "Marmalade"
Runner beans 
Scabiosa atropurpurea "Oxford Blue" 
Scabiosa caucasia "Perfect Blue" 
Tufted vetch
Verbena bonariensis
Veronica spicata
Wallflower "Bowles Mauve" 
Wild basil (Clinopodium vulgare)