Wednesday, 1 April 2009

flowers for wildlife


Allotments are community gardens in the UK.

Ours is dedicated to food production and this means that there is not a lot of space to give to wildlife. A special effort is needed.

So, each year, we plant flowers among the growing vegetables to encourage insects. Simple flowers are best.

In 2009, our plan is to encourage self-sown borage plants to grow up among the potatoes. Borage is wonderful for attracting bumble bees. We will also plant African marigolds among the potatoes - they are a true 'companion plant' and enzymes from their roots are said to combat potato eelworm.

Our onions and roots will have alyssum (Little Dorrit) planted among them. This little low growing annual is very attractive to hoverflies.

The legume bed will be sown with antirrinhums (Snapdragons). Bees love diving down into the well of the flowers to load up on nectar. Antirrinhums are members of the legume family and so fit comfortably within the roation. The legume bed will also be marked by beautiful sunflowers.

Our brassicas will have the pretty little convolvulus tricolor. This is a brilliant flower for attracting hoverflies which, I hope, will help combat some of the brassica pests.

Now is the time to be sowing up seeds for a spectacular summer season that will brighten the garden and benefit garden wildlife.

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