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Talkback: Native versus non-native plants

donutsmrsdonutsmrs Posts: 486
I try and grow a lot of flowers for bees, and this year I have grown forget me nots and egg plant. I hate seeing front gardens that have been concreted over and no plants at all, doing this doesn't help the wild life at all. We can all do our bit for the Bee, after all the Bee does so much for us.


  • oldchippyoldchippy Posts: 244
    Hi Kate our local park (nonsuch park) is managed jointly by Epsom & Ewell/Sutton councils it is left to wildlife with just the paths cut ,We also have Warren farm now owned by The woodland trust,in all about 220 acres so there is lots of wild flowers and grass,We also have lots of birds bees and butterflies not to mention bugs,There is a great mix of trees of great age as well as newly planted,There is a place for all who want to use it.
  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591
    For the whole of Jubilee Week-end we are having a celebration og Bristol Flora at the Briatol University botanic garden. I have never seen the collection of Avon and Cheddar Gorge, Mendips and Quantocks plants in their purpose built habitats look so beautiful. If they don't entice people to give a home to our lovely native flora, nothing will. and what better way to celebrate her Majesty's Jubilee than to encourage the wildlife that feeds the nation.
  • diggingdorisdiggingdoris Posts: 513

    Not sure it's a native but my ceanothus is massed with blue flowers and has a constant hum as there must be 50 bees on it at any one time. My blue scabious has the biggest bumble bees on it that I have ever seen! The aquilegias are fantastic this year as well and always being visited by the bees, and the lithodora on the rockery is covered with them as well. Are any of these plants native to us?

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,298

    I started to make a list of non-native plants and realised very quicklu that it was easier to make one of native plants. Probably less than 5% (that sis a guess) of the things we grow are native to this country, Sadly it became an island before most European species managed to recolonise it after the last ice age.

    Even the majority of our food crops are not native, wheat, barley, carrots, sprouts................all brought in.

    Insects do not care from whence cometh the pollen, just as long as it is there. So double flowers are out if you want bees etc.

    The most popular plant in our garden for Bees is a Lonicera alseuosmoides. Nothing much to look at or smell, but I counted over 500 bees on it one day last year.

    Ceanothus by the way is native to California.

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,298

    Wish there was an edit function on here.

    Aquilegia are found all over the Northern hemisphere, but probably not Britain. Lithodora is from Spain. And even Scabious is not native, it comes from the Caucasus.

    I could go on............................

  • oldchippyoldchippy Posts: 244

    If we only had native species our streets would be very different,No Chestnut trees no Acacia and on and on.

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    And as for spuds, runner beans, tomatoes, courgettes...
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 3,277
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  • gardeningfanticgardeningfantic Posts: 1,019

    i am with you hollie-hock.. anything for bees and wildlife.. i grew sweet rocket  htis year..they love that. i try to feed the bees, buterflies, hedgehogs and they get my slugs, and the birds.. and over the last 2 years i have managed to do it rather well.. so will keep going.


  • happymarionhappymarion Posts: 4,591

    Our native columbine is Aquilegia vulgaris which grows wild in england, Scotland, and Wales.  

    Insects evolved before the flowers adapted to attract them as pollinators.  Primitive flowers like magnolias are pollinated by beetles.

    The best way to find out about helping the bees and butterflies in your garden is to visit a teaching garden ie a Botanic Garden and seek out the Pollination garden and the native plant section.  

    There is a native scaboius in Wales.  i saw a specimen of it in the Welsh National Botanic Garden native plants section.

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