Spring flowers for butterflies
Apparently, we have just experienced the sunniest winter since records began. Although parts of the UK are still icy, it is starting to feel like spring in the garden, with daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and primroses in flower.
There are plants available in garden centres now that will flower in the next few months and attract bees and spring butterflies such as Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral.
- Balkan Anemone or Windflower Anemone blanda
Pollen rather than nectar is the main reward offered by these delightful daisy-like flowers, making them a magnet for early emerging honey bees and bumble bees.
They flower from February to April in a stunning range of colours, including white, violet-blue and several shades of pink. 'Blue Shades' is a lovely variety with blue petals around a gold centre.
These anemones will spread to create a blue carpet in your borders or they can be planted in part shade under shrubs and trees. The leaves die away after flowering. Young flowering anemones can be planted in the spring or the corms can be planted in autumn - they need to be soaked overnight first.
- Pincushion Flower Scabiosa Pink Mist
Masses of soft pink, button-like flowerheads appear from April to November, above neat compact foliage. They are hardy and will thrive in full or partial sun in fertile well drained, neutral to alkaline (chalky or limy) soils. Height 40cm x spread 30cm. They should be deadheaded regularly to prolong flowering.
- Dianthus Tickled Pink
Beautiful, scented, cerise pink flowers over a neat mound of evergreen foliage bloom profusely from late spring and through the summer. Plant in sun or partial shade, in well-drained soil. Height and spread 20cm. They are excellent in patio pots, borders or rockeries.
- Hebe Purple Pixie
This is a rounded evergreen shrub with purple flowers, which blooms from late spring until the first frosts. There is also a pink version called Pink Pixie.
Plant in a sunny spot in well-drained soil at the front or in the middle of the border or in a container. Height and spread 60cm. After flowering give a light trim to remove flower heads and to maintain a rounded shape.
Making these additions to your spring garden will provide a cheerful, colourful background, linking all the other plants together.
The Secret Gardener