In December 2014 Julie bought me eight fragrant roses for my birthday. I planted them in a right angle in my 3 B (birds, butterflies and bees) garden to form a windbreak. They were a mix of ‘T’s and floribunda with a height range between 80cms and a full metre and I looked forward to having a sweet smelling, multi coloured hedge in a couple of years. With very little maintenance they have all grown and exceeded their height expectations. The varieties are Nicolas Hulot, Jacques Prevert, Caprice de Meilland, Pau Casals, Julio Iglesias, Charles de Gaulle, Louis de Funes and Lolita Lempicka. With a rose hedge up to 2 metres high I am now looking at underplanting.
Although I watch ‘Gardeners World’ avidly, particularly the programmes broadcast from the flower shows, the last being from Tatton Park, I never seem to achieve the blend of colour, form and texture that says ‘finished’. So I have given up trying and just go for masses of colour, any old height and 3 B friendly. Once I realised I was never going to achieve anything like perfection I was suddenly liberated, I could plant whatever I wanted. Here is my list of long lived plants that are loved by birds, butterflies and/or bees and, most importantly, will survive here on the Costa del Sol.
Buddleia, Cistus (Rock Rose), Ceanothus
Lavender, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Sweet Marjoram, Basil
Sedum (Ice Plant), Centranthus (Red Valerian), Marigold, Sea Holly
I will start collecting them as I see them in garden centres for planting out in October/November.
Just a quick word about birds and what they look for. Birds have two priorities, food and not providing a meal for a predator. They like cover and they like plants of variable height. In other words they like ‘scruffy’ gardens like mine. Some birds eat berries, some seeds, and some the insects that are attracted to certain plants so a range of plants works well.