Sunny weather continues to encourage lots of pollinators to the plot. The tubes in the solitary bee box on the shed are filling with mud-sealed nests and I’ve seen a few butterflies on the wing which are my absolute favourite pollinators of all, I just adore them, even Cabbage Whites but obviously not on the Brassica. I grow edible Nasturtium on the allotment which are attractive to pollinators and can be used as a distraction plant to Cabbage White butterflies (blackfly too), steering them away from brassicas to lay their eggs. Mighty handy if you love your cabbages, although you might want to check before munching on the leaves or flowers!
Recently I planted a butterfly bush on the plot, Buddleja Davidii ‘Black Knight’. I’ve always wanted one growing on the allotment and was lucky to find a good-size shrub with small flower buds which means it will flower this year, just not as prolific while young. I’m looking forward to the first long spikes of dark purple flowers with orange eyes and the butterfly visits too. It will grow into quite a large shrub in time and will fill out the area near the compost bins.
Another fantastic flower to pull the pollinators in is the bright and cheery Calendula, plus it’s edible too. I scattered lots of seed in the herb bed using collected seed but just one seedling so far for my efforts which is disappointing. Usually I sow in trays and plant out which works well and they seem to self-seed easily enough the following year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed more pop up soon but if not I will sow in trays next spring. I mention herbs growing on my plot, at the moment there’s a tiny Rosemary (which will flower at some point in the future) a flowering Lavender attracting lots of bees and a bronze fennel which will grow quite big, sending up lovely yellow flowers like open umbrellas, irresistible to bees, hoverflies and dare I say it, wasps, which are also important pollinators if a little annoying at times.
Last weekend I planted quite a few sunflowers on the plot, a mix of tall singles, multi-branching darker varieties and the shorter but rather cute Teddy Bear which resemble fluffy pom poms (I’m not sure if they attract pollinators as such but I couldn’t resist). I dotted my favourite taller variety of Cosmos around and for some rich autumn colour Rudbeckia ‘Gloriosa Daisies’, which are half hardy perennial but I treat them as annuals. I’m hoping for a lovely display of beautiful blooms and to use some as cut flowers.
Do you grow flowers on your allotment?