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