Two new flowerbeds have been created by the gardening team. The bed above right is to complement the existing bed by the Ticket Office (left). These two areas by the entrance will be planted up with perennials that are pollinator friendly and in the hot colours of yellow, orange and red.
The second bed has been created where the fire engine used to sit, to be viewed by all those travelling on Howard, our train.
It has been a challenging area due to its past use, not to mention the very wet weather, with substantial drainage improvements needed. This bed is an experimental one, where we will be trialling tropical style planting, so bear with us while we wait for the weather to be suitable enough to plant out the tender plants, currently being grown in the greenhouse.
We have used lots of different methods to increase the numbers of our current plants, including air layering.
This way of propagating has successfully been used on a Brugmansia from the courtyard, using a moss and pot method.
Brugmansia (Angels’ Trumpets) are poisonous plants that grow in South America and are pollinated by large nocturnal moths. Closer to home, Sir David Attenborough is urging people to take action for butterflies and moths this year, to mark the 50th anniversary of wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation. More than three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies and two-thirds of our larger moths have declined in the last 40 years.
One way to make our gardens more butterfly friendly is to create a sheltered warm area. This can be done with hedges, low stone walls or trellis. Put your nectar supplying plants in the sunniest areas, planting the same types together in blocks. Choose a variety of flowers to help butterflies as they come out of hibernation, continuing into autumn as they build up their reserves for winter. On the butterfly conservation website https://butterfly-conservation.org you can download a list of their top 100 best butterfly nectar plants.
One from their list is Cosmos, which we have seedlings of in the greenhouse at the moment. More seeds can be sown now and the taller varieties would look great planted alongside another pollinator favourite that is growing on in the greenhouse, Agastache.
If you have a bog garden, now is a great time to add in additional plants. These areas provide a vital connection between watery and dry environments. A good combination would be Hostas, purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, marsh marigold and hemp agrimony.
This is purple loosestrife which you will see growing in several areas of the Jubilee Gardens and on the right of the bridge leading to the pavilion. This plant is a favourite of the long-tongued Elephant Hawkmoth.
Look out for returning migrants such as blackcaps and Willow Warblers. Willow Warblers are small birds about the size of a blue tit with a grey-green back and pale underneath. They have a yellow tinged chest and throat and a pale stripe above the eye. They can be separated from the very similar chiffchaff by the fact that the Willow Warbler has pale pink legs, whereas the chiffchaff has dark brown or black legs. The call of the chiffchaff sounds like it is saying its own name, whereas the Willow Warbler’s song is a series of cascading notes.