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Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

But­ter­flies are at­tracted to the brightly coloured flower clus­ters of ver­bena. Ver­bena’s creep­ing growth habit makes it an at­trac­tive sub­ject for con­tain­ers, rock­eries and spilling over low walls.

Sow seed of salad crops fort­nightly so there is a con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of ten­der young leaves. Spread straw be­tween rows to re­tain mois­ture, dis­cour­age weeds and stop mud splash­ing on veg­eta­bles. Pro­vide strong stakes and supports for climb­ing beans and vines of tomato, zuc­chini and cu­cum­ber.

Plant­ing flow­ers among veg­eta­bles at­tracts ben­e­fi­cial in­sects such as bees, which aids pol­li­na­tion. Many beep­ol­li­nated flow­ers are yel­low, blue or white. Bee flow­ers of­ten have nec­tar guides on their petals in the form of spots (fox­glove) or lines (pansy) that point the way to the in­te­rior of the flower where the nec­tar is lo­cated.

As well as adding bright colour to the sum­mer gar­den, marigolds are grown as a soil cleanser be­cause they con­tain a sub­stance that is toxic to ne­ma­todes in the soil. They can be grown as a cover crop where other plants are to be grown, and be­tween rows of veg­eta­bles.

Alyssum, a favourite of bees, spreads sweetly scented car­pets of white, pas­tel pink, laven­der, vi­o­let or pur­ple flow­ers in a sunny po­si­tion in six weeks from seed. For even quicker re­sults, plant alyssum seedlings.

Large yel­low and black bee­tles that dam­age flow­ers, es­pe­cially roses, can be hand-picked, but as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure wear gar­den­ing gloves as some bee­tles emit a sub­stance that can blis­ter the skin.

Tigridias were pop­u­lar sum­mer bulbs in grand­mother’s day. The ti­gridia is known as the pea­cock flower or tiger flower, be­cause of their dra­matic open-faced flow­ers in red, yel­low, pink, pur­ple and orange, with cen­tres spot­ted in a con­trast­ing colour. In­di­vid­ual flow­ers only last a day, but each stalk pro­duces sev­eral flow­ers that open suc­ces­sively. Plant bulbs in groups 50mm deep, in well-drained, rich soil in a sunny po­si­tion.

BUT­TER­FLIES are at­tracted to ver­bena

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