Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Best Buddleja's and Open Gardens Raise a Storm!

Hello All,

Wow! A whole summer has just whizzed past! Where did that go!!

Isn't it amazing how time goes by and all those great plans that we have for our gardens seem to fade into another year! Well having said that we have had quite an interesting summer and I intend to share my summer garden with you by looking back over the last five months since my last post!

As I always say 'if I'm not posting on here it's a good thing as I'm out in the garden!'

So where do I start?

I thought that in this post I'd start by telling you about opening our garden for chairity for the first time.

Yes that's right in true Higgy style I somehow nominated myself to the task of opening my own garden when I suggested to my wildlife group that we should work in partnership with our local horticultural society by opening up a selection of  members gardens that are designed purposefully for wildlife. This was accepted as a great idea and I was promptly nominated to be part of the committee that would make this happen!

PANIC STATIONS!!! This is the only way that I can describe knowing that I literally had a couple of months to get my own garden in a fit shape for showing to members of the public who were also keen gardeners themselves! Anyone who has opened their own garden will know exactly what I faced: a lot of hard work!! And my hard work was doubled as due to my hip replacement last September the garden hadn't been properly managed or maintained for more than a year!!

Although still proving attractive to wildlife my garden was in no state for opening to the paying public. The wildlife made the most of stripping berries and seeds from my neglected plot!
As always I soon found that despite looking out on good weather whilst sat in work, come the weekend when I desperately needed to get in the garden it innevitably rained and generally on any other occassion when I had time off work!!

Undefeated by the weather, painful hip and stacks of hard work I'm pleased to tell you that we did manage to get the garden in some sort of acceptable state to open it. Unfortunately on the day of the open gardens we had torrential rain all afternoon!! I do wonder if someone was trying to tell me something!

At this point I just have to say a massive thank you to those of you who braved the weather to still make the day a great success and contributed to over 100 visitors to the garden who all really engaged with the concept of gardening for wildlife! Even better as a collective of 14 gardens we raised over £1500 for our local children's hospice so it all ended very well indeed! :-)

Here's a few pictures of the garden back in early summer to demonstrate what visitors ended up seeing...

When you first enter the garden you come onto the raised deck and the area where I grow a few tropical/jungly type plants and where we sit to eat...

Your eye is then drawn down the garden and out to the view of the fields beyond which we created by cutting the trees at the bottom of the garden into windows to frame the view...

You then walk down into the area where we grow these big leaved tropical plants but at the time of these pictures they aren't very big!...

Through the archway...

 ...and into an area that is planted with perennial plants for pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies. Quite a transformation from where you have just come from! On a hot sunny day these plants are literally buzzing with life!...

I'm going to leave your garden tour here and pick it back up on my next post as this will encourage me to post again soon and there is another project that I'm working on in the garden that I wanted to tell you about...

Buddleia - Buddleja

As you will all know by now the plants in my garden have to have some use to wildlife and in particular I have a passion for butterflies and moths. Now one of the best plants that I grow for butterflies and moths is of course Buddleia or Buddleja. Commonly known as 'The Butterfly Bush' it has all the attributes to attract a wealth of wildlife which I like! I like a lot!

Having a couple of Buddleia already growing in my garden (Black Knight & White Profusion) I thought it would be fun to search for other varieties with a view of eventually trying to establish which Buddleia really is the 'best' for butterflies!!

So at the end of last year I planted about a dozen different varieties to get my Buddleia trial started!

Buddleja Davidii - White Profusion was one of two Buddleias that got my trial started. Here you can see how attractive to pollinators Buddleias really are...

I now have about 30 different species planted throughout the garden and it will be interesting to see how they evolve over the next couple of years. Will there be one that is better than all the others at attracting wildlife?? I wonder?

So far I can report that the white variety 'White Profussion' has been the best by far but it is also the most mature buddleia plant in the garden so I don't think we can fairly judge this at this time.

There are also many different types of Buddleia many more than I first thought with over 140 different varieties reported to be in existence from all over the world!

I intend to dedicate a whole blog or two to this superb wildlife plant and have introduced them and my trial here to give you a little taster of what's to come...

So I will leave you with a few Buddleja species from my trial and that are now happily growing in my garden in North Somerset....

Buddleja Davidii - Royal Red...

Buddleja Davidii - Peacock

Buddleja Davidii - White Bouquet 

 Buddleja Lindleyana...

 Buddleja Nivea

 Buddleja davidii - Adonis Blue

Buddleja Davidii - Morning Mist Silver Anniversary...

 Buddleja Davidii - Empire Blue...

 Buddleja - Peach dream...

Buddleja Davidii - Sugar Plum...


Just a very small selection of my Buddleja and I hope you agree very pretty flowers in a veriety of shapes and colours. Whatch this space for more details on the plants themselves and how my trial is progressing.

Bye for now, although I will post up again very soon :-)

Best regards

Higgy




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