Now is a good time to see which of your flowers are attracting the most beneficial insects, to plan for next year. At Beale this year we have grown from seed lots of a big favourite with bees – Agastache Lavender Blue.
The dense spikes of small flowers are popular with white-tailed bumblebees, red tailed bumblebees and the common carder bumble bee. Agastache are also available to buy as perennial plants from garden centres earlier in the year. The RHS has given the variety ‘Blue Fortune’ an award of garden merit. Agastache bloom all summer and into the autumn. They would complement another late season bee favourite – Asters. Several different varieties of Aster can be seen in our Jubilee Gardens. The yellow centred purple Aster amellus Veilchenkonigin that we have would be ideal.
The two new borders by the ticket office and gift shop have been designed with pollinators in mind. Echinacea ‘Marmalade and Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’ can be seen flowering there now. Echinaceas have a daisy type flower which has a central cone that contains masses of tiny fertile flowers that bees and butterflies will come and collect the nectar from.
Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’
Other flowers to be found in these new beds are Achilleas (yarrow), Coreopsis (Tickseed), Dianthus cruentus (feld pink), Foeniculum vulgare (fennel), Hemerocallis ( day lily), Knautia macedonia (Macedonian Scabious), Sedum (ice plant) and Phlomis russeliana (turkish sage).
Our ponds here are buzzing with insects such as dragonflies and damselflies which in turn attract birds and mammals. These are generally only seen around home ponds that receive plenty of sunshine.
However around ponds in more shady areas you will still have amphibians. In late summer froglets and tiny new toads might be found in the long grass, so avoid strimming or mowing close to ponds until they have dispersed.
There are far fewer birds in our gardens in August as they are moulting and less able to escape predators. In the Jubilee gardens carrion crows can often be seen flying over or perched in the trees. They go through an extended summer moult and replace only one or two flight feathers in each wing at a time.
Keep bird baths topped up, and in prolonged dry spells to compensate for the ground being too hard for birds to reach worms, put out a high protein alternative. These could be black sunflower seeds, pinhead oatmeal, soaked raisins (not if you have dogs as they are poisonous to them), grated cheddar and soft apples or bananas.