Last year I introduced companion plants to the plot and now I can’t imagine gardening any other way.
The scattering of flowers amongst my crops looked so beautiful while attracting many pollinating insects and predators of pests. Mother nature at her blooming best! The entire plot was quite literally alive with activity. You can find my plant list here.
Let nature do the hard work for you
Most of the blooms I chose were annuals and the great thing about annuals is that they grow and die in the same year so no pruning or protecting over the harsh winter was required. Most annuals also self seed freely so come back year on year. It is for this reason that I don’t need to re-sow any calendula, borage, sunflowers or nasturtium’s this year. They’ve done all the hard work themselves!
This year I’m adding to the collection and introducing poached egg plants. They literally add sunshine to the beds while bees and aphid munching hover flies LOVE them so I’ve edged beds and boarders. They were dead easy to grow from seed. I raised little plug plants to give them a fighting chance against the slugs but you could also direct sow if you wanted to.
Helping our honeybees
Some of the most enjoyable moments from last year were watching the honeybees flock to the cut flower bed. We’d pull up our chairs to catch the last of the evenings rays and watch in awe as the incredible little workers industrially covered their tiny bodies in pollen until their legs turned fat and yellow. Can you believe bees will collect their own body weight in pollen before heading home!
This year to help these gorgeous creatures further I’ve introduced more blooms specifically loved by bees and butterflies. Scabios, Echinaecea, Verbena bonariensis, Oxeye daisy and Californian poppy.
The RHS has a fantastic guide which is well worth a read if you would also like to have a go. I’d love to know how you get on!
The important thing is to avoid plants with double or multi-pettled flowers as these flowers can lack nectar and pollen. They may also find it difficult to access these types of flowers. If in doubt choose seeds/plants that display this symbol, stand back and enjoy!