The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A trio to tackle in the garden: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. 

What's good in the garden right now? The answer is LOTS. Gardens are alive with bloom; foliage; colour and that most important topic of all: insects. Without them our flowers and fruit will not be pollinated; our birds and small mammals won't have any breakfast and the garden would be a dead and dreary place. On that note, let's all join in with the BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT. It's good... it's on now and ends on 9 August! There is a useful chart of butterflies for identification purposes HERE. What better excuse to get out and about amongst the truly beautiful life that is all so easy to miss. Butterfly Green Vein White on geranium flowers The Green Vein White Butterfly. It's fun spotting wildlife in the garden! Butterfly Gatekeeper or Meadow Brown on Marigolds small The Meadow Brown Butterfly enjoying some marigolds... or is it a Gatekeeper? The butterfly chart provided for the Big Butterfly Count can help you decide!                               No mention of beautiful flowers in the garden right now can pass without reference to Salvias. They are definitely good. They look amazing during June, July and August and will keep flowering right up until October if you dead head regularly. Did you know there are over 900 species of Salvias? Some are half-hardy, others are hardy and some are shrubby. The traditional blue takes a lot of beating. New in at Perfect Plants  is the delightful Salvia Nachtvlinder which has velvet plum-purple petals and is drought-tolerant once it is established. These are great for beneficial insects. Choose plants with simple flowers for maximum insect snacking opportunities. The nectar is openly accessible and the pollen is easily transferred, ready for transportation to the lucky recipient. Salvia Nachtvlinder, great for pollinating insects This luscious Salvia 'Nachtvlinder' is newly available from Perfect Plants Another good, if not great, plant for July and August is Veronica. Those elegant, sleek spires of flowers look amazing when planted in drifts and they are also loved by insects. New varieties of Veronica just arrived at Perfect Plants include the pink 'First Love'; elegant white 'First Lady' and the blue 'First Glory'. They are really luscious! Veronica First Love. Plants for insects and biodiversity Veronica 'First Love'. What's not to love? Insects will love them too. Veronica first glory. Good garden plant for insects and a great colour too. Veronica 'First Glory'. Vibrant blue flower spikes make a great vertical statement. Get your own garden buzzing with an array of good insect-attracting lovelies. Some of the best include Caryopteris; Hesperis; Hyssop; Monarda; Verbena and, of course, wonderful Lavender. Perfect Plants has many different varieties of Lavandula including English and French varieties. They look wonderful in pots and containers and also lining paths. Lavender, Lavandula 'Regal Splendour' hardy perennial Lavender 'Regal Splendour' certainly has a regal appearance   So... what's BAD in the garden? If you are lucky, perhaps nothing at all! If you are less that fortunate you might have a few pernicious weeds. Giant hogweed, for example! It can cause skin burns because it's a 'phototoxic', meaning that it contains furocoumarins in its sap. When combined with bright sunshine it can burn and cause blisters. A brush with a giant on a sunny day really can end in a trip to hospital! What's more, this plant can grow up to 5m in height so it's difficult to ignore! Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, a pernicious weed in the garden Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, could be called BAD! Even wild fennel, fig trees, parsnips and the trendy Ammi majus can burn skin because of their sap. they are not BAD, as such, but one needs to display caution. Ammi majus is a popular perennial plant although slightly poisonous Ammi majus or bishop's weed, can cause a skin reaction. But it is a useful and very popular garden plant.   So that just leaves UGLY. What's ugly in your garden? Your fence perhaps? The garden shed? The garage? The patio? Most ugly things can be altered or adjusted. You can grow climbers up ugly structures. You might simply need to remove the offensive item. Take this Zombie Gnome, for example! Zombie gnome for the garden Zombie Gnome - definitely UGLY! He might be best removed or hidden within the shrubbery! The moral of the story is this: Keep the good and expand the range; deal with the bad, if necessary, and disguise the ugly. Everything has a solution, and finding the best one can be a lot of fun.