Thanks again for all your questions about beneficial plants and flowers. After a brief interlude, I want to return to this topic and continue with our look at the best beneficial flowers to have in your garden over winter.
As Autumn/Winter is a cooler, wetter time of the year, the mindset of a gardener needs to shift with the seasons. Flowers can be scarce, so I want to highlight which ones will survive the winter in most areas and provide the insects, birds and bees with much-needed food, in turn adding more life, health and vitality to your overall garden.
White Alyssum is a great plant for the garden and has a very long flowering season. If you are in the warmer North Island, this will grow all year round and if you are in the colder South, where snow is likely, it will flower for a shorter period. Alyssum has the most wonderful fragrance and is a low-growing beneficial flower, with a tendency to spread. It is great for growing down a retaining wall, in pots or on the borders of your garden.
It self sows easily, and really benefits from a ‘haircut’ twice a year. One of the good things about this beautiful plant is that it’s not too fussy: if you have never pruned one before, there is not much you can do wrong believe me, so just go for it.
Alyssum is also great for attracting predator insects, as the florets are shallow and easily accessible for the mouths of these insects. It is drought-tolerant, but might suffer a bit if long periods of rain persist. It makes itself at home in orchards, gardens and vineyards, attracting hoverflies which eat the larvae of aphids. Plant Alyssum in between chard, silverbeet and spinach, as it will really keep the health of these plants at an optimum level. And as if you needed another reason to grow Alyssum in your patch this year – the flowers and leaves are edible too!
Feverfew is a must-have for any garden, no matter how big or small. It is a highly medicinal plant in my experience.
Feverfew can produce flowers all year round and is very easy to take cuttings from – just snap one off and pop it in a pot or plant in the ground: it is a member of the daisy family, so very hardy. I grow Feverfew near my house because I tear the leaves off and place them at my door entrance to deter flies.
Feverfew is also essential if you suffer from migraines. Pick a leaf, put it in a vegemite sandwich and, voila! No more migraine! A word of caution though, if you are a person who suffers from allergies, do a test spot by crushing a leaf and rubbing it on the inside of your arm and wait 24 hrs to see if a reaction occurs.
It will grow into a small bush approx. 70 cm high at maturity and can take a hard pruning a few times a year when it becomes tatty.
Feverfew grows in any soil, even if of a poor condition. Feverfew is especially effective at attracting aphids away from roses, but I advise you to plant at least 2mtrs away from your rose plants.
Feverfew is an essential in my garden, as it helps to mask the attractive smell of the good veggies from those pesky insects, keeping them fooled, even if not that pleasant to one’s own nose.
Remember to sign up to my newsletters for more tips and tricks for the garden and get access to your worm farm printable if you are a new member!