Forum home Wildlife gardening

New garden

Hi everyone!
this year I have a garden :) I’m beginning to experiment with my garden and flowers.
what the preferred way of growing wildflowers for bees, butterflies and insects ?
ill be using pots and some space in the ground. My garden is south facing. 
When is the best time to sew seeds for cornflowers, poppies, rudbeckia, globe thistles, daisies, verbena and other garden wildflowers ?
also should I sew directly in the growing bed  or in pots ?
thank you!


  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 1,639
    edited June 2020
    Seed packets will give you all the info on when and where.
    Have a look at this website for Inspiration as they list 208 plants as important for bees
    I find seed sown directly never works for me so start it off in seed trays or cells. Now with a small garden I just buy plug plants or 9cm pots
  • PyraPyra Central Scotland Posts: 139
    These sites have a lot of bee and wildlife friendly seeds. 

    This site also has a lot of info on wildlife gardening. 

    As K67 says, seed packets have the info on when to sow them. You can also use old cardboard egg cartons as seed cells, which can save you some money. Most plants can be transplanted but some, like borage, don't like it, so just sow them directly. Again, seed packet will tell you. 

    You could also have a herb garden in containers. Lots of plants like rosemary, oregano, mint, chives and fennel are bee friendly if you let them grow flowers. Plus, you get herbs. Most garden centres will sell herbs cheaply, so you don't have to grow them from seed. 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,204
    The plants you have listed should all do well in a well prepared bed in a sunny position. I would suggest growing them in seed trays initially, as K67 says, and growing them on to a decent size before planting out.  If you want a lot of different varieties you will need a lot of space and commitment, so maybe grow some the first year and buy others.
    It may look a bit thin at first, but they will bulk up and if happy they will then self seed, so there will be lots more in following years. This very useful for ones that are annuals, that die after flowering, as it saves you a lot of work!
    They are mostly summer flowering though, so you might like to think about adding something for earlier in the year.  There will also be nothing to look at after the flowers die back, so you might want to add some evergreen shrubs or climbers for winter interest.
    Spring bulbs such as narcissi and alliums are good for early bees and are great for pots, you can buy and plant them in the autumn.
    I would suggest swapping the echinops for teasel, a native plant and similarly decorative, and adding aquilegia to your list as well as Pulmonaria (just buy a couple of plants and then split them each year) for earlier flowers, and Nicotiana for night perfume.
    Erysimum 'Bowle's Mauve' is a perennial wallflower that makes a short shrubby bush. It is the Number One insect attractant in my garden and flowers practically all year if you are in a reasonably mild area. It tends to wear itself out after a couple of years, but is easy to grow from cuttings, if you can find a shoot without a flower bud! I wouldn't be without it and always keep a couple of cuttings waiting in the wings, so I can replace it if need be.
    Bees and most insects don't care whether plants are native or not as long as they provide pollen and nectar, but butterflies and moths and some other insects are very specific about food plants for breeding on,  and moths like plants with night-time scent, so it would help to grow some of these if you want to attract them to your garden. Not all are pretty - nettles are the favoured plant for several British butterflies, so consider whether you can leave a small corner for them.

Sign In or Register to comment.