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On the Menu for ... July 2018 at 'Hampton Court'

The Floral Marquee at Hampton Court is a wonderful place to discover new plants; it is also one of my favourite places to watch pollinators. Given the plethora of plants outside, including eryngiums galore and the easy-access mass planting of Verbena bonariensis ‘Buenos Aires’, it is amazing that any pollinators find their way into the marquee, but they do in their numbers.

Scabious are renowned for attracting pollinators, and pretty little Scabiosa columbaria ‘Mariposa Blush’ is no exception. At just 30cm high, its dainty filigree grey-green foliage is enough of a reason to grow this beauty; the pretty flowers held atop sturdy slim stems are the icing on the cake.

At home, one of the stars of the borders at this time of year is Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’. A tall plant (it is exceeding its 1.5m anticipated height in our garden), it holds itself upright, so there is no need to bother with staking. It flowers for weeks, and is hugely attractive to pollinators. In a marquee filled with so many delights at Hampton Court, it is proving itself to be a top pollinator magnet.

Scabiosa columbaria ‘Mariposa Blush’

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’

Lythrum salicaria ‘Robert’ 

Lythrum salicaria ‘Robert’ requires moist soil, which is why it is high on my watch list of worrying plants in our garden during this dry weather. Nonetheless, it is flowering beautifully, although the plants on display at Hampton Court look a lot happier than the ones at home.

While I would never grow an entire garden stocked with only one type of plant, I do find very specific collections useful for comparisons. The Festival of Roses Marquee is an excellent place to observe which rose blooms are attracting pollinators. Rosa COUNTESS OF WESSEX (‘Beacream’), a highly scented, repeat flowering shrub rose rose from Peter Beales, is a hit with pollinators.

Rosa COUNTESS OF WESSEX (‘Beacream’)

Rosa FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (‘Cheweyesup’)

Rosa EYE OF THE TIGER (‘Chewbullseye’)

Rose of the Year 2015, Rosa FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (‘Cheweyesup’) a floribunda bred by Chris Warner, is very popular, as is Rosa EYE OF THE TIGER (‘Chewbullseye’), also bred by Chris. Both flower almost continuously through summer.

Hosta stands at shows are generally all about the foliage. A few years ago, I asked a nurseryman about the flower colour on a particular Hosta, and he told me that he had no idea about the colours of any of the Hosta flowers on display. While I appreciate that the flowers might not be the most beautiful blooms in our gardens, they are attractive to bees, and some of them are really rather beautiful shades. At the moment, the lilac flowers of Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ are very popular with bees in our garden. It would be a shame to cut the flower spikes down and remove this foraging opportunity, so I always let them flower, and urge other gardeners to do likewise.


Posted by Sarah Shoesmith

Sarah Shoesmith is a garden writer who blogs at http://www.thegardeningshoe.blogspot.com .
She may be contacted via http://www.sarahshoesmith.com or @gardeningshoe1 on Twitter

1 Comments To "On the Menu for ... July 2018 at 'Hampton Court'"

Sue Catchpole On 10.07.2018
Hosta flowers are attractive and an added bonus to the foliage. Some varieties have scented flowers such as H. plantaginea. Reply to this comment
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