Green Fingers: Get colour for the long winter months

James Vaughan

Reporter:

James Vaughan

Green Fingers: Get colour for the long winter months

Buddleja davidii is lumped in with a variety of plants commonly called butterfly bushes - these fast-growers are great for colour in late summer

OUR garden at the moment still has colour and will have for another few weeks. This is achieved by careful selection and placing of plants.

We also have shrubs and trees planted to give us colour - and scent - over the winter months. This, hopefully, will carry us through to next spring when we start off again with spring flowering bulbs. For the moment I will discuss some plants that look great in our garden at the moment and could make your garden even better.

Lavender

Our lavender is in full flower at the moment and is attracting a huge number of bees and butterflies. This adds real theatre to the garden and our twins certainly agree. Before we even get the twins out of the car they want to go straight to the lavenders and investigate.

We planted about thirty lavender plants in a row three years ago. We did have difficulty in establishing them and several didn’t survive the first winter. We have replanted any failed ones twice and this does seem to be doing the trick. The only issue is if we have a hard, cold winter this year we might lose some more. Lavender comes from the Mediterranean and this is important to remember if you choose to plant them in Ireland. In your garden, plant them in the hottest part of the garden. When planting, add horticultural grit to the planting mix. This makes it less likely that the plant roots will become waterlogged and rot during the winter months.

Butterfly bush

This is the common name for all the Buddleia/Buddleja bushes. You may be more likely to see the purple variety of this shrub growing on derelict or abandoned ground. This is because the seed of this shrub prefer to grow in very dry ground.

This is perhaps the best shrub for attracting butterflies into your garden. Recently in our own garden I counted a dozen butterflies on just one young small shrub only one metre high. These plants are relatively easy to grow. It actually does better in poor ground. The plant is now available in a range of colours from white through to dark purple. The shrub does grow to about three meters high so it might not suit every situation. Still, if you have the space I would highly recommend it.

Dahlia

These plants, which are grown from tubers, are looking great at this time of year. In our garden we have planted a variety of types and colours. They will continue to flower until the first frost arrives - usually around the end of September. After this point you can dig up and store the tubers in a shed or garage until next spring. At that point you can start growing the tubers again in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill.

Contact James

james.vaughan1020@gmail.com