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June - Birds, Butterflies and Bees

in Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 8 Jul 2019
Rose Lavender Rosemary Sweet Marjoram

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.

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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.

Lavender Munstead

Lavender Munstead


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.

Sweet Marjoram and Rosemary

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.

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About the Author

Nick has lived and worked in Andalucia for over 20 years. He and his partner, Julie Evans, have travelled extensively and dug deep into the history and culture, producing authoritative articles on all aspects of the region. Nick has written four books about Andalucia and writes articles for other websites and blogs.

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